We love the web. In many ways, it’s the opportunity of our lifetime. It has the potential to communicate ideas, spread knowledge, bring us together, and unlock our collective talents.
If we’re going to fully realize its potential, however, we need to do a better job. The web has become slow, brittle, and bloated.
It’s common to have to reload broken websites to coax them into working. Music and video ads autoplay indiscriminately (but hopefully, their demise is pending). It’s often impossible to view articles on a mobile device because ads and other pop-ups block the entire screen (and it’s up to you to stop them). Browsers hide or obscure URLs, so it’s difficult to identify the source of what you’re reading (and its reliability). If your own personal, highly-private information hasn’t been hacked, you’re in the minority.
After spending time online, we’re all more likely to feel disappointed, distrustful, and disconnected than excited, inspired, and connected.
This isn’t entirely unexpected. For many years, we were told that the rising demand for web talent would outstrip supply. “Move fast and break things” became a widely-adopted mantra. Web standards were abandoned.
The consequences were inevitable. And unfortunately, for many, the broken web isn’t a disappointment; it’s the norm.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. The web used to be better. And it can be exciting and inspiring again. Those of us who’ve been around long enough to remember a better web have a responsibility to make sure the web we lost is not forgotten — and more so, to bring it back and make the web work.
At Faculty, we aim to do just that: to design, engineer, and build great websites. To help us, we’ve defined what good work means to us. We’re sharing our thoughts with you in the hopes that we can all commit to raising our standards and delivering on the web’s promise.
Good work serves a purpose
Not everything has to save the world, but if we want to do good work, there should be meaning in it. We need to know why we’re doing what we’re doing. Purpose is our call to action.
Good work works
Everything we build should be fast, reliable, scalable, and accessible. Users should always get a hassle-free, trustworthy experience.
Good work is accessible
Good work gives everyone equal access to information and functionality. Anyone can find and use it. Taking care of the wide range of people out there creates a better experience for all.
Good work is responsible
We must do everything we can to account for the wellbeing of all the people that use what we make or may be affected by its use, and for the safety and security of their information and rights.
Good work communicates effectively
Communication is the foundation of any interface or interaction. It’s how we convey value and meaning. It’s how we begin to build trust and connect with each other, our customers, clients, and users.
Good work builds trust
To build trust, words and actions must align. Buttons do what people expect them to, private information is secure, people own and control their own data, users have enough information to confidently make decisions, and websites work reliably.
Good work takes time
Time and thought should be invested into building a foundation that will support long-term growth and goals — not quick fixes. Let’s be the tortoise that beats the hare.
Good work is in the details
The details reveal how much we care. It’s important to tend to them even when (perhaps especially when) they may go unnoticed.
Good work resonates
Work resonates when we listen closely to our users, truly understand and care about their goals, and are able to make an emotional connection.
This can be an intangible, ephemeral, and somewhat immeasurable metric. But if people don’t care, it’s not good work.
Good work is built on good work
Fundamentals matter. The philosophies that underpin our work determine how high we can build.
We believe in progressive enhancement. Everything we build provides a baseline of essential content and functionality. From there, we can push the envelope with new experiences for users with modern browsers, faster internet, etc. Everyone gets the best possible experience.
We know we can’t make the whole world wide web better on our own. We need you, too — all of you. So if you adopt or recognize any of these ideas in your own or others’ work, we’d love to hear from you. Please share examples, thoughts, and ideas with us on Twitter @facultyco or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d like to share good work in our newsletter.