I keep hearing news stories about the future of the internet, and how someday we’ll all have lightning fast access. We’ll be able to download Internet Explorer at home in three seconds instead of three hours, and the endless time we web developers spend compressing graphics will be available for more important tasks.
I don’t believe a word of it.
People seem to think that a worldwide fiber optic network connecting every single house with a computer will somehow pop up out of nowhere within the next few years. Frankly, the manpower needed to accomplish that would solve unemployment accross the planet and require more money than America’s national deficit.
Of course, I’m making up these figures, but they sound accurate enough to me.
Many designers are making "high-bandwidth" sites – ones that only download in a reasonable amount of time if you are on a direct connection. We who use modems (the majority of internet users) are forced to wait more than our short attention spans can tolerate just to see web pages.
We’re stuck between two philosophies, though. As a designer, I want to express my creativity. I want to create interesting visual experiences and not be oppressed by "bandwidth constraints". At the same time, though, I want to offer fast downloads so my audience won’t be put off.
The idea of a high-speed internet is wonderful. Unfortunately, it’s currently nothing more than an idealistic dream.