THE HALLMARKS OF SLOW WEB

To recap, the "thing" we are rebadging as Slow Web came about because of "necessity is the mother of invention" reasons because the only sites that contained detailed information on our areas of interest were PDF based and not mobile friendly (and specifically the one of most interest, ie Guide to the Thames, was being discontinued).

So we went back to KISS First Principles of HTML and designed this thing (let's call it an app as anything and everything can be revered as an app) to overcome those problems.

Montage Summary

The Montage above is for the Cotswold Way and shows the main elements of a Slow Web App.

1. In the SW corner is an image of a detailed Map (selected from the frame above) of Walk 2 (of 28) which contains tabs/thumbs to select the features in the other images.

2. In the NW corner is an image depicting a typical Panorama which results from selecting one of the 18 thumbs.

3. In the NE corner is an image depicting a Fly-Over Video which results from selecting one of the 2 Fly-Over tabs.

4. In the SE corner is an image depicting a Sat Nav screen which results from selecting one of the 2 Sat Nav tabs.

Maps

The backbone of the app is an overall MAP of the area of the content, cascading (but not using CSS) in Frames (iframes in HTML lingo) below to more detailed maps, all of the maps being static as Screen Shots from Google Earth. The subject "Paths"(eg The Thames Path) are clearly indicated on all Maps.

Fly Overs

Then "Tours" are played in Google Earth of the Paths and rendered as "Fly Over Videos" (in whatever format might be "popular" at the time with the Lords of the Web that decide such things, but currently MP4). These Fly Overs provide a "bird's eye view" of the Paths, and while a drone can do a similar task with better definition, the logistics of recording the whole of the Path would be enormous. Another limitation on drones is height where, for example, with the Ghan the optimal elevation to be able to show the entire 3,000 km is about 7 km and that is fine for a Google Earth Tour but not for a drone. Similarly drones do not fly at 3 times the speed of sound! So maybe the use of drones is a Hallmark of Slow TV where only very small snippets of the total Path tend to be featured.

Panoramas

Panoramas are "up there" (with Fly Overs) as one of our Hallmarks of Slow Web and, as explained in detail above, these have evolved from DIY to embedding of Google Street View, which is described herein.

Sat Nav

Pre-programmed Sat Nav routes are the most recent addition to Slow Web and their use goes beyond the traditional "turn left in 100 yards" type of function, "on the trail" on a mobile device, especially the "see details" function that can be of great assistance on a big screen at the planning stage.

Slow to Make, Quick to Access

As mentioned above this entity came about because of "necessity is the mother of invention" reasons, but that proverb goes on to say "If necessity is the mother of invention, then laziness is the father". Further Googling revealed an explanation for "laziness" by Bill Gates who said he would always "hire a lazy person to do a difficult job because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it". Ironically Bill's own "lazy man's html" called Frontpage was a flop and the Web Industry took to "CMS with funny names" like Joomla, Drupal etc, or just standardised CSS, which explains why all mainstream websites look the same.

But these CMS made it so easy to "expand a site in all directions" that the mobile revolution came as a big shock, needing a great deal of "fixing" to comply with the Google Test given the amount of "shoehorning" to fit a behemoth into a mobile phone.

But now comes the caveat that although our html structure is very simple, the content production is not for the Bill Gates lazy person as it requires a great deal of "attention span" however once it is MADE, the ACCESS for the viewer is instantaneous. The making also requires a superior knowledge of Google Earth and Professional Image Editing software. So these matters probably combine to explain why such a logical format has not already happened, given the propensity of the Web Industry for quick build CMS and "photoshopping".

Only time will tell if that industry might even want to adapt to the Slow Web genre, and the enormous amount of fees it derives from "fixing its own work" (starting with Y2K and now with RSD) probably makes that unlikely, though stranger things have happened.

Futureproofing

Futureproofing is a term used to convey a design goal of anticipating present trends as future norm and catering for the future even though there might be present incompatibility.

Specifically for those with slow Internet speeds at present the apps may be a bit slow to load/buffer. We assume speeds can only get faster so opt for quality over compromise. The Maps contain both image and graphics so using either jpg or gif is less than ideal so we go with png files which are more than double the size but totally clear. Similarly we use video parameters that are relatively "on the high side" in the interests of clarity.

Then such features as Sat Nav and embedded panoramas may not always work on all devices, but the number of features that work now but did not work a year ago attests to the pace of developments in the hardware and software associated with this development.

Chromecasting etc

One advantage from Futureproofing is that "casting" to a big screen TV provides stunning Fly Overs that can be viewed at the planning stage of a trip from the comfort of the couch with the whole family tuning in. Similarly the Panoramas render quite dramatically and in some cases we provide a "Panorama Slide Show" for quick access to all the panoramas in an app.

But what IS this thing? Is it a Slow TV that thinks it is a Slow Web or a Slow Web that thinks it is a Slow TV - or something else again? Whatever, it certainly allows the vital INTERACTIVE function that is presently absent from Slow TV.