Are flashy HTML5/CSS3 “demos” helping?

The lack of forward movement in front-end web development by government agencies may be our own fault, says Chris Heilmann. And I agree. Completely.

I’ve been increasingly biting in my reactions to many admittedly fun but practically useless “demos”, “experiments” and other assorted HTML5 and CSS3 nonsense like CSS3 icons. I always get flack for this, and I probably will now.

While these experiments are easily defended—“just wanted to see what was possible”—they are generally non-complex (though they can be tedious; take one look at a CSS3 icon or font). They are, put bluntly, simply a way to show off. And as long as that works, it will continue. But what are these experiments helping, aside from the reputations of those who make them(!)?

Please note that many of these experiments utilize a technique that I and many other art directors and designers have used for ages, which greatly enhances product appeal. It involves simply combining two things you wouldn’t ordinarily expect to be together: CSS and fonts. CSS and icons. HTML and games. Peanut butter and chocolate—Hershey/Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups have used this to their advantage for years. And so forth. The first person to build real beer from Javascript will be speaking at conferences for years to come.

I could say more, but Chris Heilmann said it so well, there is no need:

Right now, we are happily thinking we innovate and push the envelope where in reality we are making each other go “Oooohhhh” while a large chunk of the audience that could benefit from our knowledge is stuck with really poor experiences on the web.

If you haven’t, please take a moment to read his article.