What I love about the web

2 minutes to read

I’ve always found the internet incredible. Some of the things that excite me about the internet are the same things that have excited me since I learnt it existed. My first forays into the web were during brief supervised glimpses of screen time. First at school, then during briefer thirty minute spurts of online time on the dial up I installed at home. I learnt how much there’s always been to create, discover and explore.

Though I loved it from my first encounters, I never imagined myself as a person who would end up helping build it. I know this is partly down to never hearing much about people like me. Non-men, non-white, non-straight coders - or coders at all, for that matter - until pretty late in my life. For this reason it’s important to me to be visible, in all the facets of my identity online.

I can pretty much sum up the things that excite me about the web in two words. Accessibility and community. I’m packing a lot into them for the sake of a snappy sentence so bear with me.

Accessibility means a bunch of things to different people. On the web, it means ensuring people with disabilities and access requirements can view content and use services. The BBC news site, which I currently work on, aims to be the most accessible news site in the world. I haven’t had much of a chance to work on accessiblity before here so I’m very well placed to make it a focus of the year to come.

A more lay use of accessibility is… Making sure people can access stuff? So to me, it also means making sure people offline and on slow connections have great experiences. It means building distributed services. This prevents data loss, from government records to mastodon toots.

It means aiming to design beautiful interfaces that work for everyone. Design isn’t my strong suit, and I’d love to learn more about it, and the UX decisions that drive great interfaces. I know little about how to create and maintain distributed social networks and peer to peer platforms. I’d like to learn more about them.

I’m using community to mean the places that helped nourish and sustain me in my career and initial coding journey, as well as the act of giving back to them. I’m also using it to mean the hotspots of knowledge and kinship that grow up on the internet, teaching everything under the sun. On the former, one of my goals for this year is seeing if my meetup, wildcardjs, is a good idea and having more meetups. I’d also like to give more talks and workshops, and write more beginner to intermediate focused content, contributing to the latter.

Nothing I write about the web would be complete without me saying I’m also super keen to learn best practices in Javascript, HTML5 and beyond.

My efforts this year center my career around building a tech community and web in more sustainable, usable, and friendly ways.

Written on August 29, 2018