Christopher Butler

The Case Against Apps (and for the Web)

I’m not categorically against apps. On the contrary, I think apps are quite suitable for a variety of purposes; in particular, productivity, gaming, communications and one-way, consumable media are all types of applications that work quite well in the mobile context. But apps are not an ideal format for wide and un-monetized content distribution....

How to Think About Website Prototypes (for Designers)

In the past, I often would describe a website prototype as a plan for how a website works, not how it looks. While, in a sense, I still think that’s true, I’ve come to realize that it’s actually pretty confusing, don’t you think? Especially since we go on and on about how sitemaps and...

Robots Don't Read, People Do

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” I don’t remember exactly when I first heard that phrase, but something about the work ethic implicit in it spoke to me at my core, even as a child. And now, years later, it still does. Yet, I’ve learned something new in the intervening years...

Unlimited Tracking Is Evil (But Limited Tracking Is Not So Bad)

Last time, I tried to shed some light on how web tracking actually works in order to debunk a few myths and increase awareness—hopefully to get us all thinking about it more than we are now. My hope was to leave you with a question, of whether tracking as it’s done today is really...

They Are Watching: How Web Tracking Works

For most people, the notion that they are in some way being tracked while they use the internet is no longer surprising. The subtlety of how it’s done keeps us from experiencing that creepy feeling of being watched, the feeling we get when being followed around by a salesperson in a store—which, by the...

Storytelling Is the Future of the Web

Most of the successful marketing campaigns that stand out in my memory all revolve around characters. Some of them are simply charismatic spokespeople, like Geico’s gecko, Nationwide’s “Greatest Spokesperson in the World,” or, I suppose, Burger King’s creepy king. Others keenly represent the intended customer—think way back to Wendy’s “where’s the beef?” lady, or...

How to Do SEO Right

A wise man once said, you can’t judge a philosophy by its abuse. True right? And yet, most of us do just that all the time. I can think of plenty of examples from every corner of my life, but here’s one that is relevant to you: I stumble upon quite a bit of...

How Search Engines Really Work

Arthur C. Clarke once wrote that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” an insight that sheds a great deal of light on why our historical predecessors, without access to much of the knowledge we take for granted today, believed some of what they did. But it also applies to contemporary technologies, some...

10 Reasons to Rethink Your Website

Websites don’t last forever. Without consistent upkeep, sometimes they barely even make it three years! The rapid change of web technology can overtake what was once state-of-the-art and reduce a website to a quaint relic in pretty short order, which is why it’s so critical to realistically consider the “shelf life” of your website...

Offline Thinking for Screen Workers

“We are what we know.” Science historian James Burke created a ten-part mini series for the BBC, called “The Day the Universe Changed,” around this idea—that our experience of the world is shaped by the things we discover and create. Typical of the kind of profound and pithy statements for which he is well...