When your video doesn't load on the train. You know the feeling. Fury.
How hard should it be to get a solid, dependent data connection in this day and age? We're living in the future!
In the early 2000's, many thought and predicted that today, 15 years later, the Internet - as the Great Equalizer, a Human Right, would flow over our planet in infinite amounts at no or low cost, connecting one and all.
Although the connected population has grown from 5% to around 50% over this time, we still have a long way to go.
Half of the world is still unconnected, (THAT'S 4 BILLION PEOPLE) and 30% of those connected live outside 3G coverage. They can only access the Internet on a low bandwidth connection, which is also often the case for the newly connected.
Several hundreds of millions of people do get connected every year, through fantastic initiatives from major tech players, NGO's, start-ups and governments, but what 'version' of the Internet are most of them met by, right now in 2016?
The dancing baby gif from the dawn of the World Wide Web is still better entertainment than a YouTube video that will never load on these low bandwidth connections. In theory, sites created 15 years ago would work better than many of the ones created today.
The newly connected are waiting.... waiting... waiting... for a poor, underwhelming version of the Internet.
Image source: osxdaily
Being a part of the global industry of creatives, technologists, storytellers and content makers - I wonder how we can play a bigger part in this connectivity journey?
Rather than just sitting around waiting until the gods of the Internet descend on their shiny unicorns, shooting 200MB/s from their horns for everyone to enjoy - we can be fuelled by the lack of data, be creative within the boundaries of bandwidth, and create better global work, right now, for the newly connected.
It's the big clash of hi-tech and low-tech.
How do we create sites, services and stories that work for both worlds? It's more than just fall-back adaptations. This is work adapted and created specially for low-bandwidth. Localisation that goes beyond language and culture.
What is the simplest version of our work?
What is left when we remove the fluff, strip back the java script, remove high-res pictures and videos?
If there is one call to action, one button, what does it say?
How low (tech) can we go, and still keep our core?
This is a good creative challenge.
Creating simple sites and services that load instantly on low bandwidth, but are still a delight to use on 4g. Accessible. Affordable. Still beautiful.
It's 2016 and we live in the future, surely we should be able to pull that off?
In the next 15 years, there's no doubt that we'll have a different climate as more and more people get connected, but until then, the struggle is real.
How can we create more with less?