Today is April Fool’s Day, so a lot of people and companies are playing silly tricks on people.

Google Maps currently has an option labelled “Quest” which displays maps using 8 bit graphics. It reminds me of when I first started using computers back in the 1980s. Computers were a lot less powerful – my Spectrum had only 48k of RAM! Hard drives were a LOT smaller and the quality and detail available for graphics wasn’t exactly stellar. Of course that meant that programmers had to be a lot more creative in how they did things.

So for a bit of fun I took screen grabs of our Google Maps’ listing in both “normal” resolution and the much lower “Quest” version.

Here’s the normal one:

Normal resolution Google Maps listing showing our offices

And now here’s the “Quest” version:

8 bit Google Maps showing our offices(On a sidenote, the guys over on Search Engine Watch have found some pretty nice examples of famous monuments in Quest which is worth checking out)

These days your mobile phone is as powerful as some desktop computers, my TV has a builtin browser and Twitter client and my bluray player is wifi enabled and features a bunch of web enhanced features.

Computers and the internet are changing dramatically and you can no longer rely on people accessing your website’s content via “conventional” means. They’re as likely to access it via their handheld mobile devices as they are to use a traditional desktop.

So what does all this mean for website development and design?

I guess it means that you need to be considerate in how you do things. Don’t assume that people will have a device (or browser) that is capable of rendering complex animations or displaying content from 3rd party plugins.

Consider developing a mobile version of your site.

Check the size of the graphics you’re using on your site. A smaller graphic footprint will make your site load faster and you don’t have to compromise on quality.

Check how fast your site is to load. Don’t assume everyone is on a fast connection – they aren’t.

Make sure your phone number and other contact details are text and not graphics.

And if you haven’t got a listing on Google Maps (places) then get one today! (It can’t hurt!)


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