What if I told you there was a way to instantly increase your email deliverability, website accessibility, the number of social media posts, and the customer perception of your brand? We just did exactly that by switching our primary domain from spot.xyz to spotvirtual.com.
Initially, the allure of a four-letter domain was strong. The .xyz extension was also fitting–Spot being a 3d virtual workplace in the browser–as it pertains to the multi-dimensional nature of our product. Moreover, surely choosing the same top-level domain as Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has been using for years is a relatively safe choice for our application? Unsurprisingly, this turns out to not be the case.
Not all top-level domains (TLDs) are created equal and some are much worse than others. We suspected as much, but we didn’t know how to quantify the risk when we were making this decision. In this post we lay out the impacts that having a .xyz was having on our business and hope to simplify the decision for other companies in the future.
Safari is holding back the web. It is the new IE, after all. In contrast, Chrome is pushing the web forward so hard that it’s starting to break. Meanwhile web developers do nothing except moan and complain. The only thing left to do is to pick our poison.
So, you’ve got a website that you want to make use less bandwidth. Maybe you’re paying by the byte for content delivery, maybe you’re worried about the environment, either way, let’s assume you want to make your images as small as possible. The obvious place to start is just shrinking your images…
A constellation of personal thoughts and images
A world of artful frames and colorful edges
A field of stars slowly moving together
A multiverse of expressive web pages
Two years ago, Google proposed Manifest v3, a number of foundational changes to the Chrome extension framework. Many of these changes introduce new incompatibilities between Firefox and Chrome. As we previously wrote, we want to maintain a high degree of compatibility to support cross-browser development. We will introduce Manifest v3 support for Firefox extensions. However, we will diverge from Chrome’s implementation where we think it matters and our values point to a different solution.
For the last few months, we have consulted with extension developers and Firefox’s engineering leadership about our approach to Manifest v3. The following is an overview of our plan to move forward, which is based on those conversations.
The emerging norm for web development is to build a React single-page application, with server rendering. The two key elements of this architecture are something like:
The backend is an API that that application makes requests against.
This idea has really swept the internet. It started with a few major popular websites and has crept into corners like marketing sites and blogs.
I’m increasingly skeptical of it.
web.dev provides content about building modern web experiences and allows you to measure your site’s performance. Savvy users may have realized that our Measure page is just an interface for Lighthouse, which is also available in Chrome’s DevTools. Signing in to web.dev lets you run regular Lighthouse audits on your site so you can see how its score changes over time. I’ll be revisiting the Measure page a bit later, as we think it’s fairly special. 🎊
Not that long ago some well-meaning-but-dumb laws required that websites ask for permission to set cookies.
Since then we have all grown used to a crappier Internet, where users routinely dismiss popups without reading them. The result has been wasted time, smaller screens, and precisely zero improvements to privacy.
Now the UK body responsible for policing these laws has published new guidelines on how we must comply. In short: we’ve been doing it all wrong.
Google is rolling out a significant change as a part of their page experience ranking algorithm in June 2021.
From the release of the Core Web Vitals and the page experience algorithm, there is no longer any preferential treatment for Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) in Google’s search results, Top Stories carousel and the Google News. Google will even remove the AMP badge icon from the search results.
You can now safely ignore Google AMP when building a more diverse and more exciting web without any artificial restrictions set by the adtech giant.
Recently, I was looking for a way to add a spiral to my website1. My search led me to this CodePen, which I found fascinating. For one, the code for simulating the spiral was very simple. But what really caught my attention was what happened when I started playing with the provided “angle” slider. Incredibly complex, intricate shapes were being drawn in front of my eyes from a few simple lines of code, and they didn’t even look like spirals after some point.
I fell down an enjoyable rabbit hole trying to understand what was actually going on, and then I ended up finding and playing around with different types of spirals to see what other effects I could observe. I’d love to share all my findings with you, but if you don’t care for the details then feel free to jump directly to the visualisations!
Soundcities was the first online open source database of global city sounds and soundmaps, using found sounds and field recording. There are now thousands of sounds from around the world on the website. This project allows the audience the possibility to remix the thousands of sampled recordings in an online database. The sounds can be listened to, used in performances, or played on mobiles via wireless networks. The soundcities database is also open so anyone can upload sounds they collect from world cities, thereby making a valuable and collaborative contribution to the project and helping to make this online sound archive.
The sounds of cities give clues to the emotional and responsive way we interact with our cities. Cities all have specific identities, and found sound create understanding about the people that inhabit these spaces, as well as provoking us and stimulating our senses in a musical way. I am interested in the sounds of specific places, and how the sounds reflect this identity and re-imposes characteristics back onto the location or environment. The aim is to create an online aural experience that evokes place, both as literal description but also developed musical composition. The sounds of cities evoke memories, loss, love and hope.
I am hopeful that 2021 will be the beginning of the end for two of my least favorite things – the pandemic and Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).
For the past few months, I’ve been focusing on Google’s Page Experience update due to launch in May and what it means for publishers. The largest and most talked-about item in the update is Google announcing that sites with passing core web vitals will receive a ranking boost on mobile. However, there is another important item in the update – the end of special treatment for AMP pages.