9th July, 9:28 am Jul 9th

Today you get a little glimse into my mind. This is a conversation between me and Warren which started off as an argument about DHTML being tacky but went on to discuss the ideas behind content creation and the delivery of information. This makes for interesting reading. I'm in bold, warren speaks in italic. No reason for that.

So all rollovers are tacky?

Yes, they're an unimaginative way of enhancing your website.

That's simply untrue. You'd prefer the web fully static would you?

Using your imagination, and having a different view to other people dosn't make me a wrong, it makes me an individual. If people didn't have different views then nothing would ever change.

So you're saying that no progress has been made since the invention of the web. You're saying nothing on a page should move. Then why not read a book instead?

I never said nothing should move, I said there should be more than just a roll over image. I'm saying that the world wide web shouldn't just be a collection of pages. I'm saying people should enter an entire different world when they log on. People should feel a part of the web, not just a spectator. They shouldn't feel like they're just reading a fancy pop up book.

And the first step to that is to make the web interactive.

The web is already interactive. People need more, they need to interact with more than their mouse and eyes. The whole body needs to play a part in the experience.

Warren, that isn't possible. Technology isn't that far ahead. You have to think about what's actually possible.

What i mean is you know when you watch a film (eg. romeo and juliet), it may make you cry. Or when you listen to a really fantastic bit of music and you get a sort of shivery sensation down you back - you can feel the music right though your body. What does the internet do? Nothing. It dosn't even leave anything to the imagination like books do, so you feel nothing from it. You just look and sometimes play a little, its just a thing, not an experience.

Yes, and you can't change that yet. It doesn't make it tacky.

You can change that, its just people won't, and that's what makes it tacky.

How then?

Who knows, but if people can do it with art, books, TV, film, music and speach, it sould be easy to do it on the internet as it combines all of them in some way.

But it doesn't. The way you're saying it, is to reproduce these things onto the internet. That's pointless. Why can't you think creatively and try something different? Why do you only think along the lines of what's already been proven?

I never said we should put all the other media on the Interent. I said if we are able to get feelings like intense sadness, happiness, comedy, funny tingling down the back etc. from the other medias, we should be able to get some feeling from the Internet - that's what people really want. People watch horror movies so they will be scared, but its more than just being scared, more than going 'Oh I didn't like that'. You become part of the movie, you use your imagination and really its not the movie scaring you but your own thoughts and feelings. The internet is very WYSIWYG. Not enough is left up to the person.

That's why we have DHTML - to let the user have some level of control. People don't all want the internet to be this big all-immersive media. It's still primarily a reference and always will be.

Its not control people need, it's the chance to use their imagination. When you ask a person what do they like in a film, they will say sex, women, men, comedy, action, etc.. that dosn't mean they don't still want these feelings and don't want to be taken into the film, its just no one really knows how to explain the experience. People don't know what they want until they have experienced it.

What's stopping people from using their imaginations when theyn use the Internet?

You don't just have to let people use their imaginations, you have to stimulate their imaginations for them.

But I don't want to. The internet is about information, not keep an audience. If people don't want to get involved in something I do, without me having to try especially for them, then they can leave. That's the point of the net - content doesn't have to be aimed at everyone. If you don't like something, don't look at it. Just because something doesn't stimulate your imagination doesn't mean it's tacky.

If you're not bothered about people looking at your website, then why put it on the Internet?

I don't want everyone to read my stuff, just people who want to. I'm not trying to get anyone in particular to look at my stuff, just people who choose to. That's what this is all about. If someone doesn't like what I do, why should I care? There is NOTHING in the world that everybody likes. That doesn't mean that everything is pointless.

But what about the people that don't understand what you're about?

Then my stuff is not for them. Nothing is created for everyone - only the people who understand it. Think about art. Think about literature. Think about film and video.

One of the main aims of all films is to appeal to the cinema go-ers, who are 15-19 year olds. They may also be for older or younger, but are nearly always aimed at 15-19 year olds. But these films are still viewed by millions of over 19 year olds and under 15 year olds, and even though they aren't in the age range they still love the film. I'm not interested in big aliens and traveling at super light speed, but I still liked Lost In Space. Even though I don't understand all of Romeo And Juliet I still love the film.

But just because you enjoy it doesn't mean everyone does. Are you saying that content only has value if it appeals to a wide audience?

To be continued....

This was posted on Sunday 9th July, 2000 at 9:28 am Pacific.

Read more posts from July 2000.

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This is the personal website of Cal Henderson, Slack co-founder & CTO.

I give occasional talks, write code and sometimes articles.

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