Cyberaudacity

Audacity often has the meaning of “bold or arrogant disregard of normal restraints”. Cyberaudacity refers to the mindset which disregards the normal capabilities of the average, internet user in lieu of promoting and catering to the internet user with more advanced capabilities.

In 2007, the United States was claimed to have about 215,088,545 internet users, of which only 66,213,257 of them used Broadband internet connections. This means that only about 30.8% of all internet users in the US were on broadband. This means about 148.8 million internet users in the US did not have Broadband in 2007.

Now let’s look at a few other places now:

Country Internet Users Broadband Users Percentage

Australia 15,504,531 4,700,200 30.3%
Canada 22,000,000 8,142,320 37.0%
China 162,000,000 48,500,000 29.9%
European Union 269,740,453 90,851,417 33.7%
World Total 1,262,032,697 308,909,975 24.5%

You can extrapolate the figures, as I did for the US, from these figures above. The fact is that only about 24.5% of the world is on broadband, leaving 75.5% of the world who roam the net with out high speed internet. Yet there are very few places on the net which are designed for the most common user.

In the 90s the trend shifted from designing sites on the net for the average user. When I learned to build message boards and web pages, it was driven into my head that I could not neglect the average user if I wanted a successful site. In fact it was urged to consider those with 14.4 Modems, even though many of us had faster speed modems. The object was to attract as many users to our sites as possible and you couldn’t do that if you only designed your sites for those with the most powerful computers with the fastest modems. The logic of these teaching made absolute sense back then, and those points are still logical today.

The problem is that even in the mid-90s, the idea of “Bigger, Faster, Better” was taking root. The idea of “symbolism over substance” was being pushed hard. It didn’t matter if your site was virtually a useless site with little or no thought behind it… just jazz it up with lots of images, music playing as background music and lots of scripts and applets which provide people with something to play with and you had it made. People, especially the younger crowd, would flock to the site (despite there being virtually anything of merit on the site) because the word of it being a cool site spread like wildfire. What was worse was that many of these people tried to emulate the site, and some even succeeded in outdoing the cool sites.

Through-out the 2000s, the mindset of the net changed to the idea that in order to have a popular forum or site… one had to provide a lot of resource wasting things. These items were not only visible items, but also scripts and programs which run behind the scenes. The average internet user was left behind in the mad dash for the ultimate site. The simple, easy to navigate and easy to load sites have become a thing of the past.

The dial-up users, and those users with older or smaller computers, struggle daily on the net. Many of them have resigned themselves to simply doing their email or visiting a few sites which loads with-in a reasonable time for their system and set-up. Quite often they tire of sitting around for long periods of time just to see what a new site offers.

A year ago I heard one young man make a comment of “Let these people get cable and better computers” as his response to a conversation going on concerning “How do we reach these slower users”. The sheer audacity of the comment made some angry and others laugh at the person. Imagine thinking that everyone, or most people, can afford $2000 computers and $50 a month for high speed internet… let alone those people who live in area where they cannot get high speed internet. I suppose his response would have been “So… move” if anyone would have stated they lived in an area where they only could get dial-up. I remember the young man leaving because one member of the conversation said something about “Not everyone has Daddy paying for their internet”… so I figured the comment struck a nerve and moved on.

In the field of Marketing, whether a person is selling a product or idea, the very fact of up to 75% of the people in the world are not being reached because our sites are too slow loading for them to stick it out should be appalling to us. That’s a lot of people who we are missing out on reaching. Some of those people will buy our products or services, others may buy into our idea and yet other might join our message boards and such.

Don’t get me wrong, I like large, fast sites with lots of toys too… however I do think that we ought to remember the average user more when designing our sites.

Source:

Internet World Stats: Broadband Statistics for 2007
http://www.internetworldstats.com/list2.htm

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