Are you browsing comfortably?

I was lucky enough to be asked to speak at Remy Sharp’s Side View conference in Brighton this weekend, a part of the full frontal conference event. I tried to give an overview of the state of the web on TVs and how our current attitude to responsive web design works, or rather doesn’t work, on big screens. Here’s the slides and abstract.

The Responsive Web Design trend was triggered by the need to make the web presentable on small, handheld devices. Now, the Internet is encroaching on every aspect of our lives, and it won’t be long before it takes over large screens too.

How much of manufacturers’ internet TVs claims are true? Will the next generation of consoles bring the Internet to the living room, or will Chromecast be the gateway to the large screen future, and where do web developers fit in?

Lets make a web site that is suitable for the sofa

Update: The video is now online via Remy’s YouTube channel and is embedded below. I’ve also written about this topic for the 12 devs of Xmas, if you want to read through the talk rather than watch it.

The most common question I got after the talk was, “What inspired you to do the talk, did a client ask you to do some TV work or something else?” The answer is simple, I just wanted to know how it was and tell people about it. I know that members of the Opera developer relations team have done much of the research into the web TV for the opera web TV product, and I’ve always wanted to hear them talk about this subject and wondered why they didn’t do those talks – the technology to make it happen exists. So I did my own research into the problems, and now I understand why they don’t talk about it much. The whole web on TV experience is a mess, the technology promises a great user experience that doesn’t live up to expectations, and almost actively discourages the browser usage in favour of pre-loaded app experiences.

Now that the research is done, I an going to look for better answers. Luke Wroblewski is doing this, as is Ethan Marcotte, and in this industry, when heavyweights like those start to investigate, there is clearly a problem to solve, and probably a mindset change to happen to enable our industry to grow and embrace this technology.

I hope you like the talk, let me know what you think on Twitter and in the comments

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Steve Workman

Steve Workman is the Head of Web Engineering at Yell. He is also an organiser for London Web Standards is an occasional public speaker, talking about web performance and web standards

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