I was using the Crunchyroll app on my iPad this weekend and noticed my level of frustration rising because the most annoying feature of the Crunchyroll iPad app is that while using it, I can do nothing else. The developers of the application didn’t add Picture in Picture or background play support. It’s either on fullscreen or off. The Funimation app has the same problem. While I’d like to watch anime while doing something else (shopping, Twitter, RSS, etc), I can’t.
On the web, this is only a minor annoyance. I open developer tools and…
This design decision impacts my life daily. Typing “d” into my browser console autocompletes to…
document.querySelector('audio,video').playbackRate = 2
Et voilà! Patching in a playback rate control feature to video or podcast websites where there was none. My biggest pet peeve is podcasts that don’t offer playback control, but as long as there’s an
<audio> element, I can forgive their sins. I was opening the console so often, I even built a browser extension that did this. This is me, empowered!
In August I installed extensions to block Twitter’s Explore tab and Trending Topics. I (due to some undiagnosed ADHD), needed to recapture some of my focus. No more attention sirens pulling me into their vortex of political bullshit. Me, empowered!
Patching Twitter reminds me of how for years the blind community built their own Twitter clients because the Twitter app was inaccessible, Easy Chirp being a well-known one. I hope the situation is better now and non-sighted individuals can use the flagship application without modifications, but I think we should celebrate that clever people armed with good HTML and an API key were able to subvert ableist applications. They, empowered!
Over the summer, WebPageTest rolled out a new No Code Performance Optimizations feature. They are using the openness of the web to patch HTTP responses with different HTML to preview the performance outcome. Having done performance improvement work before, this feature simulates months of work with the click of a button. Us, empowered!
These are a handful of examples, but it makes me realize I don’t celebrate the Open Web enough. Native experiences may have the upper hand and feel a bit “juicier” thanks to their 120 FPS animations, but if an app doesn’t have a feature you need… you are handcuffed to that experience. You have to buy a second app to meet your needs, or a second device to work and watch anime at the same time.
/me slaps roof of the web: There’s still spark in it, if you treat it right.