I’m currently in North Wales – a very rural part, visiting my parents. I spent this morning battling with BT to get them to see and then hopefully fix what I suspect to be a poorly functioning broadband connection. What we knew was going to be slow turns out to be horribly so. Slow and Fragile. Slow, Fragile and inconsistent.
It’s so slow, fragile and inconsistent, that if you so much as glance at the router, or even the wireless signal icon on your computer, then said signal dissapears up the telephone line and back to the exchange, like a rabbit down a hole being chased by a hungry fox.
It’s easy for the rest of us to forget what it’s like on a slow connection. We all remember being on 56K modems – but I remember that back in the day when everyone else had such things too. Everyone knew you couldn’t willy-nilly open 10 internet browser windows, or play games online, or stream music, or videos, or chat, or update the computer or any of these good things.
But now you can do these things… and that means that the slow-pokes on less than 1mbps effectively have to choose what they do, and take time to do it. It’s like going back to Commodore 64 games, which required a tape and a long long time to load up the games. Patience once again becomes a key trait for surfing the internet. No clicking like a fool here – each and every click is pondered over, deliberated and signed off in triplicate. One false move now, and I could be left for 40 mins waiting for a YouTube of an amusing cat to load. No internet for the rest of us in the meantime!
We need to remember this – when we design software/websites, let us try to remember that not everyone has a stable fast internet connection, and not always is it available if we do.
Keeping this in mind might make our websites streamlined, easy to use and efficient.. then again it might not….
ooh, time to close this site down, the news website has just loaded!