Sailing on the Web


Is the opposite of user experience, developer experience? No, and this is why I enjoyed Malte’s post on how the AMP project thinks about both and the real (some being obvious) trade offs that are made. The vectors effect each other, and they are related, but they do not have a binary relationship to the other.

It got me thinking of the old parable of the sea

Let’s say that we want to get people from London to Boston, across the Atlantic ocean. We want to get them there as quickly as possible, but we also care about their comfort and amenities (pure performance vs. features). Certain amenities may require a material slowing down of the vessel, while others have no adverse effect on speed what so ever.

Some engineers are responsible for building the ship. They are making these trade offs for their passengers, and they are also using tools and components to pull this off. They could do everything from scratch, but that would take a lot of time, so it is expedient to get as much leverage as possible from the work of others.

The tool and component builders are selling to the boat engineers, so they have to make trade offs that they think will help them sell. Making better tools and more reusable components can have a massive effect on the speed to develop and quality of the ship!

When things are working well the role of the user, first party engineers, and third party engineering providers work together to create something that works well for everyone.

Some of the tension right now is that in the digital world the metrics aren’t always transparent. How fast is fast enough for someones particular journey? There are some rules of thumb “the customer won’t come back if it takes longer than X to get value Y” but it is hard to map a distance (value) to everything you are providing so context then gets mapped on top of things. There is the same nuance in the tools and the vessel. Which boat will win over passengers? Which tools will be the right choice? Or maybe you are the lucky one that first realizes that it is better to own a key part of the water and tax everyone going over it!! 🙂

The Web platform is one of the oceans, and we are debating if climate change has changed how choppy it is, which tools are required or need to be changed, and how we should compete with the trains and airplanes that are competing for the same passengers.

As always, if we all work together we can collectively help the passengers and our form of transportation.

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