John Floren

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Posted 2016/3/11

Some UI-burps

Modern computing has focused on presentation style to the detriment of actual usability and functionality.

TWM and Unity accomplish the same goal: Launching programs and managing windows. But the TWM binary is 171KB and TWM runs great on a 486. FVWM’s a little bigger (825 massive kilobytes), but it’s also significantly more configurable that TWM or Unity!

Similarly, web browsers are meant to display text, images, and (now) videos. But because we wanted to make the little monkey dance, we added Javascript and CSS and Flash and all that nonsense. The New York Times wants to load the page, then stop and fade to black, then fade in a little box that says “Subscribe now!”, instead of just taking you to a page which says “You need to pay to see the article you selected”. It’s all the equivalent of that stupid Comet Cursors program from 1998, it’s all just bullshit that gets in the way of usability.

Here’s a very functional looking website displayed in a browser from 1992:


It conveys all the information you need, and surprisingly enough it doesn’t need any Javascript to do it. How would you improve that page by adding Javascript?