Author Archives: Gerry McGovern

Content is critical (Part 1)

On the Web, content is indeed critical. If we need more convincing of this statement, we only have to throw a cursory glance at current events. Content is driving the conversation. Content is leading to action. Content is critical.

Sarah Winters defined the term ‘content design’ in the early days of GOV.UK, where she led the award-winning content team in the design of the UK government website. For me, GOV.UK is one of the shining lights when it comes to true and genuine quality Web design and management. GOV.UK has shown what online government for the people, rather than for the politicians, can be like, by being functional, evidence-based, rigorously tested, clear and useful.

Discussing with Sarah the digital response by governments, in particular, to the COVID-19 pandemic, she sums it up with the phrase ‘panic publishing’. “With the pandemic,” Sarah states, “we’ve seen organizations go from user-centered design, usability, search engine optimization, and all of those things, back to what it was ten years ago of panic publishing—just get it out.”

Of course, there are exceptions. I have worked with government health web teams in Ireland for a number of years now and, often inspired by GOV.UK, they have followed an evidence-based, quality-driven approach. I’ve seen great work happen in Canadian government, and the approaches of the UK NHS and the New Zealand health response, from what I can see, were functional and effective.

“We got rid of it!” someone from a health organization wrote to me. “Finally, after years of effort, we got rid of it.” They had got rid of something that had been around for many, many years. Whenever there was flu season, whenever there was a Bird Flu or Swine Flu or COVID-19 pandemic, this piece of content always appeared without fail. Finally, they got rid of it. They got rid of the stupid, space-wasting image of someone blowing their nose.

It was not simply about getting rid of a stupid, useless, cliché image. It reflected an organizational sea change, a cultural transformation away from waffle and organizational propaganda towards useful, functional information. Away from ministers releasing stupid, vain press releases about how concerned they were. Away from awful content waffling on about how the government was investing so much money (not their money—taxpayers’ money) in solving the problem. Away from all the guff, and the huff and the puff.

So, many organizations have made really good progress over the last ten years in relation to delivering critical content in a findable and usable manner. However, when the pandemic hit, many slid backwards, many fell off the wagon. “The problem that we’re seeing is that organizations don’t have a strong enough foundation,” Sarah states. “They don’t have a good enough content strategy that tells them when to publish and when not to. What success is. What value is. And I mean, not traffic. Traffic is a vanity metric. Don’t do it.”

The metrics drive the behaviors. The organizations that chase traffic chase garbage. It’s the Cult of Volume. And in a pandemic, what good is volume? “Oh! Look! Our traffic has exploded!” says the Web manager for a government health website. What are they going to do for traffic after the pandemic? How in any sane or logical world is traffic a good metric for a government health website?

Sarah Winters: How COVID-19 drove panic publishing

The more you remove, the more you can remove

It seems that before most people put their tech hat on, they carefully take their brain out. For every one good tech idea, I see at least nine really stupid and unnecessary ones. But most organizations can’t resist more technology.

The new website I got built for customercarewords.com has no database because it doesn’t need a database. Some sites definitely need a database. Many don’t but nearly all have one because who would refuse a “free” database.

Everything on my new site is stripped to the bare, functional essentials, from a backend perspective, yet it looks identical to the older site whose average page weight was 14 times heavier. The new site has no PHP because it doesn’t need a server to execute the application and render the content because it’s a static website, not a database-driven one.

The new site has no analytics because analytics for most sites are a total waste of time. The amount of useless, brain-numbingly stupid and wasteful hours spent poring over Web analytics is horrifying. Yes, what you’re thinking in the back of your head is true. You’re as likely to get useful insight reading tea leaves as reading analytics reports. Why do we have to spend so much of our lives doing stupid, wholly unproductive things?

So, the new site has no tracking, so therefore no Google Analytics spyware. (Do you really enjoy being an unpaid spy for Google?) The old site, because it was on WordPress, had 6-10 cookies. Don’t know why. The new site has zero cookies. Zero. So no scripts to deliver stupid annoying messages such as: “We’d like to spy on you. Do you agree?”

The new site has no JavaScript because it does not require JavaScript-enabled stupidities such as spyware scripts. The more you take away, the more you can take away.

Images have the potential to add an awful lot of weight to webpages. I thought I had been focused on making sure that the images were as light as possible. However, by using a more energy efficient format like .webp we were able to reduce average image weight by almost 35%.

We stored fonts locally instead of doing what we did in the past, where each time a font was loaded it created a connection to the “free” Google fonts service. Another little bit of time and weight saved.

In Google Lighthouse, the old site got a mobile performance score of 54. Now it has a score of 100. The desktop version went from about 62 to 99. The new site loads on a mobile device in 1.3 seconds (used to be 5.2). On desktop, it loads in .4 of a second (used to be 1.1).

The total weight of the old site was 250 MB. The new site weighs 2.6 MB, which is a 99% reduction in size. A lot of this reduction in weight was me seriously reviewing the pages and deleting old and irrelevant ones.

There are about 1.8 billion websites out there. Just for speculative purposes let’s assume that on average those websites have a total weight of 250 MB, and that 99% of that weight is waste. Getting rid of this waste would save over three million tons of CO2 each year.

Waste data, waste code, waste content, has real consequences, is a real driver of global warming. We are in a climate crisis. Everything we do, no matter how small, to reduce CO2 emissions – it matters.

The price of free is waste

All “free” systems are wasteful by design because a free system merely hides or displaces its costs. Take for example Google and Facebook. These so-called free services cost the earth. Even as both organizations vigorously participate in greenwashing, saying how they embrace renewable energy, they will always be engines of waste because they run online advertising systems.

The very model of online advertising is both massively wasteful and fraudulent. In the dystopian attention economy, an online ad may need to be displayed a million times to get one person to purchase, and probably half a million of those “displays” were fraudulent. So, free to you and me costs the earth in wasted energy. A massive underlying system of surveillance, data collection and content production can be found in the Internet’s underbelly of advertising waste.

Free merely displaces costs and feeds wasteful habits. WordPress is a great and noble service and I have used it over many years because it was free and did useful things. I didn’t need a free service for building and maintaining websites. But when something is free and when it works pretty well, it’s hard to resist, isn’t it? Because at heart we’re all cheap, aren’t we?

Deep down, we all know that there is no such thing as free, but it’s easier to believe the big lie. Somebody or something somewhere along the line is paying. Because WordPress is free and because it’s so popular you get lumbered with lots of features and code you don’t really need.

What did I care that my webpages were hundreds of kilobytes heavier than they needed to be? Everyone’s on free broadband plans, surely, and everyone has a cool smartphone?

Except of course that’s not true. There are millions of poorer people out there with crappy phones on expensive broadband plans. In lots of countries you have broadband plans where you get to use Facebook for “free” but any Web usage is very costly. But I digress. Who cares about poor people anyway? We don’t design for them. They don’t use our websites. So we can ignore them, right?

My old site delivered 405 KB of JavaScript. The new site? Zero JavaScript. Because my new site doesn’t need JavaScript. The old site didn’t need it either but you know it came with the free package and if it’s free you can’t complain, can you? JavaScript is a real energy sucker because when it arrives on a device it needs to be processed. For one of those poor people, a typical JavaScript bundle can add 10-20 seconds of energy-intensive, battery-wasting processing.

My website didn’t need any JavaScript. A great many websites could clean out up to 90% of their JavaScript code. In numerous situations, they could replace JavaScript with less intensive options. But to do that requires some serious analysis and expert programming skills. Why bother?

Because we are killing this planet with waste. Because we’re in a climate emergency and we need to behave like we’re in an emergency. Every opportunity we have to save one gram of CO2 we should take. Heavy websites are a tax on poor people and a tax on the earth. The bad and wasteful habits we develop in digital feed into the rest of our lives. Let’s clean up our digital world.

Support Digital Cleanup Day

Reducing website weight

In the digital fairytale, the evil character is Delete and the hero is Save. Digital heaven is where nothing gets deleted and everything is saved and you never know what you might find if only you look in the right place.

Digital designers and particularly software developers have a terror of deleting or removing. I have seen developers’ faces literally grimace in pain and anguish as they deleted something. Whenever I ask a developer to delete something I know that they won’t. They will mark it for deletion, they will hide it, they will disable it, but they will not delete it unless I sit there and watch. It goes against software religion to delete. “Thou shalt not delete” is one of the 10 commandments of the software bible.

The consequence of the never-delete religion is that the digital world has become a digestive system that has no capacity (or desire) to poop. All living systems are efficient at energy production, storage, waste management and disposal. Without proper waste management, no system can remain healthy. Digital is a tremendously unhealthy, obese system. The vast majority of intranets I have come across are bulging, disorganized, chaotic junkyards. Public websites are better but not much.

I just read a brilliant article by Ayala Gordon and her digital team at the University of Southampton. Consider these stats for their Web estate:
• 4 million pages
• Only 156,000 of them accessed
• 8,000 of those pages get 90% of the traffic.

Is that real? Could that be real? Yes, it’s real. If you work in digital you already know that between 90% and 99% of digital output is crap. But it’s crap that doesn’t end up being flushed out of the system. It stays on the intranet or public website, making the search toxic, making the trust and reliability of content toxic.

Web pages are full of crap and they’re also made from crap. Average webpage weight is now around 4 MB. Think of 4 million 4 MB crap-making, toxic-spewing, filthy old diesel trucks of crap, polluting the Web and polluting the planet.

If we want to do something for sustainability and to do our part to help reduce global warming we must delete 90% of the pages we have responsibility for. The pages that remain we should seek to reduce in weight by 90%. It’s doable. It’s necessary.

An example: I thought I had a slim homepage for customercarewords.com at 957 KB. But when I really focused on slimming it down, I was able to reduce it to 70 KB with absolutely no change in the amount of text or images on the page. In other words, the 70 KB page has the identical content to the 957 KB one.

The old website was built in WordPress. WordPress is great and it’s “free” but free always comes at a cost, and one cost means accepting lots of legacy multifunctional code and its consequent weight. The WordPress CSS file (which is used for layout) was 375 KB. With my developer, Daniel Marchewka, we decided to move away from WordPress and use the simplest system possible. Daniel was able to create a CSS file that did everything we needed it to do that weighed 10 KB, which is almost 97% smaller.

Why digital isn’t always greener or fairer

From digital unsustainability to digital sustainability

The homepage for my website (customercarewords.com) used to weigh 957 KB. Through a series of design decisions, we were able to bring the size down to 70 KB. With the exact same amount of content. With the exact same visual design. A 93% saving in the CO2 pollution that page created.

The rise of digital has greatly accelerated global warming because it has enabled cultures and economies of waste, of rapid production and massive consumption, of a sense that resources are cheap and limitless. That digital is green, has essentially no environmental costs, so, go on, use it as much as you want.

The dominant focus of digital is to maximize consumption and minimize durability. Someone designing a window will be very conscious of energy efficiency. But someone designing Windows, or any other app, will rarely think about energy efficiency.

At the altar of innovation nothing must be designed to last. Free and cheap are the Trojan horses, beguiling us with almost-nothing prices and costs. Free takes from the future to give to a spendthrift present. If it’s freeware it’s spyware and spyware is one of the most energy-wasteful models you could ever design for.

Digital design has become a parade of lazy excess, developer convenience, designer convenience, content marketing excess, useless often counter-productive innovations, obsession with surfaces, facile impressions, engagement stalkers, and an embrace of the latest technology at any and all costs.

Nobody wants to maintain anything. Nobody wants to nurture anything. And horror of horrors if you ask a digital professional to clean up after themselves! We cannot hope to leave for future generations a liveable planet with these sorts of attitude. We must change the way we live and the way we work.

I thought that my website was pretty decently designed. Yes, the homepage weighed 970 KB but by modern Web standards that was pretty light. Over a 15-year period, average webpage weight has gone from about 400 KB to around 4 MB in a festival of excess.

Why does weight matter? Because weight creates waste, weight creates pollution.

We absolutely need a sustainability design revolution. But how can designers with unsustainable habits and work practices help create a sustainable world with sustainable products and services? When so much about digital design culture is contemptuous of true sustainability, durability, maintainability, how can that work? When designers throw resources at everything, whether it’s computing or storage resources, how can they create sustainable designs?

It’s not that most digital designers and organizations willingly and consciously set out to waste the world. Most aren’t even aware, and up until two or three years ago, I was as unaware as anyone else. And a funny thing is that many of the organizations that I come across who say they are committed most to sustainability have the most unsustainable websites. It’s weird. Just yesterday I chatted with a design agency that promotes sustainability but readily admitted they had a terrible website and felt a “bit ashamed about it.” Not ashamed enough to fix it, though. But they did have plans. In nine months they hoped to get around to fixing the leaking pipes that were daily spewing toxins onto the Web.

Sustainability starts by getting the attitude and culture right.

Moving beyond the Cult of Volume (Part 3)

Did you ever wonder how much data you produce? In 2020, it was estimated that 1.7 megabytes of data were created every second for every person on earth. We have created more data in the last two years than in all of previous human history.

When Liam Nugent shut down his digital agency, he calculated how much data he and his colleagues had created. 100 gigabytes a year for each person. “When I totalled it all up,” Liam explains, “we had five one-terabyte hard drives full of stuff, as well as MacBooks with 250-gigabyte drives. This was the result of nine years of work.

“We had to look at all this stuff and try to decide what was actually useful from it,” Liam states. “What were we going to give to the clients to take forward into the future? So, we basically went from eight terabytes of data that we had accrued, and when we cleaned it all up, it boiled down to 850 megabytes of real purposeful, useful information.”

850 megabytes of useful information from eight terabytes of data.
Therefore 99.99989375% waste.

“We had this almost Japanese factory culture. You’re in this room with a lovely wooden floor, white walls, big windows, natural light, plants, some tastefully chosen books on the shelves,” Liam explains. “We went to Ikea and bought these black canvas boxes. We had a cleaner who came in on a Friday night. So, we had this policy that everyone had to clear their desk on a Friday, put all their stuff in this wee black box, and the box was put on the shelf, so the cleaner could come in and not have to worry about touching computers or moving things around. And if I was last out, I’d sometimes give a glance at the room and think, we’re neat and tidy and efficient and we’re trying to do things in the right way. But it’s just a veneer. Underneath it there’s a belching diesel engine just puffing out smoke.”

That’s digital for you. A surface of shiny, constantly changing style, while down below the engine is filthy. Nobody deletes. Nobody maintains. Nobody archives. Once it’s published, once it’s launched, nobody cares, because in our global warming economy, the only thing that matters is to produce and consume.

What would Liam do different if he was starting an agency again? “Number one, I think, would be to create a culture of deleting things, which hardly anyone ever does. Make it a mantra. If you’ve used something, the default should be to delete it unless there’s a very good reason to save it.

“The next thing would be to set limits. Measure it. Say that you’ve got 50 gigabytes of storage this year so that people know when they’re hitting their limits. So that they have to make decisions about what they keep and don’t keep. You need to train them how to do it. Create a culture that is confident enough to say, we decided we didn’t need that. Try and be careful. Make everyone aware of what the real cost underneath this stuff is, how much energy is being used.”

Liam Nugent podcast

Moving beyond the Cult of Volume (Part 2)

Digital’s easy and cheap creative capabilities trap us in a Cult of Volume. According to digital agency founder, Liam Nugent, “a typical designer or programmer sees their job as to do, to make things. They ‘outsource the thinking’ because it’s a job, because that’s what they’ve been told to do by a client or manager.”

Liam and a colleague started their agency in Glasgow from basically nothing. They used free tiers of services such as Gmail and Dropbox to get started. They grew to about five people and for years delivered the best digital services to clients that they could. Finally, they decided that they’d like to do something different and decided to shut the agency.

“When I looked at everything, I realized I had 949 sets of credentials in my password manager for accounts I had created over ten years,” Liam explains. “Loads of them were tools and services. We in fact felt that we were conservative in relation to adding things. We weren’t like always on the bleeding edge of everything. But even at that, when you average it out, I was basically signing up for eight accounts a month.”

In digital, we are trapped in a monotonous, relentless process of change for change’s sake, of newness that is rarely useful and very often damaging but must be embraced because it’s new, and today if you’re not up with what’s new you’re just not cool and cutting edge and innovative, and your career will stall.

Do you remember the craze for hamburger menus a few years ago? Like a malignant virus it swept through Web design. First it invaded mobile and from there jumped to desktop. In vain, we tried to explain to clients that this was not a good design idea for them but it was an impossible argument. Hamburger menus had become the latest design tsunami driven by superficial newness and the addict’s desire for the latest hit. We watched as website after website introduced them and task success rate rapidly declined because there is a really ancient and basic law of navigation: If you hide navigation it gets used less.

Anyway, I have noticed that over the last year, a number of clients we work with have dumped the hamburgers and gone back to the “traditional” navigation structure. The result? Better task success rates. There is always something “new” out there, although few stop to ask the question: “Is it really better?”

“There’s a better way to host git repos so we’re going to start using that,” Liam says, somewhat ruefully. “But we’re not going to go through the pain of migrating the 14 ones we have on that other one to this one, so we’ll now just keep two running. And at every point, even though you thought you were trying to be smart and you thought you were trying to be efficient, day-to-day pressures would get in the way, and you would just accrue all this stuff.”

The road to complexity is paved with good intentions, and at a certain point complexity becomes your master. “We started getting these Frankenstein monsters where we were not sure if we switched it off what would happen,” Liam states.

So we produce and add and we never subtract. And so we feed the monster.

Liam Nugent podcast

Moving beyond the Cult of Volume (Part 1)

If there’s one thing digital has done it is to explode the creation and production of digital stuff. It requires herculean efforts to focus on quality in a digital environment because digital tools are so relentlessly focused on quantity. Digital feeds and accelerates a culture of waste.

Liam Nugent has been leading teams that design and build software for over 15 years. He tells me a story of a classic example of how digital drives unseemly waste. “This particular form had seven yes / no questions on it,” Liam explains. “And the client said, I’m not really sure how many routes that will open up to the user. I’m going to have to get you to get a designer to draw them all out. And I said, no it’s okay. You don’t need to. A wee bit of maths. Two to the power of seven, quick calculation, it’ll be 128. But they wouldn’t accept that and eventually I capitulated. So, we had a designer create in Photoshop 128 files.

“So, instead of one 5–10 MB file there was a 640 MB to 1.28 GB file to be transferred. But, of course, the file transfer was just the tip of the iceberg, as it usually is. Think of all the wasted time and energy—the sheer useless monotony—of creating 128 essentially identical files.

“My strong suspicion was that when the work was eventually done, the client opened it to check that it had been done, and they never looked at it again. For all I know, it’s still on their hard drive.”

Liam suggested doing it in HTML, which would be much more practical, useful and would use vastly less weight and energy. What was the response? “That will look terrible.” In the pursuit of superficial beauty, we do so much damage to this beautiful planet.

What Liam initially did with the client is something very rare in digital-land. Actual thought, some logic, some planning. Do some maths, use your brain, think. It’s a rare thing in a profession driven by a frenzied production culture. There is the idea that everything is changing so quickly that therefore nothing can be understood or planned for, that nothing can last, so there’s no value in thinking beyond the next deadline, the next iteration, the next sprint.

Digital has shrunken our brains, shrunken our vision. We don’t even try to see beyond the next release. We are all racing, sprinting, iterating, innovating, and the majority of what this digital industry is producing is disposable crap. We have been trained to accept that nothing should last more than a couple of years.

Planned obsolescence is the driving philosophy and we even have to fight for the right to repair the stuff we bought with our hard-earned money. Think about that. Digital brands go out of their way to create products that are difficult to repair by using glues and special screws, they try to force you to use only their parts, they use threats of voiding warranties.

It’s hard to pursue quality in a world obsessed with quantity and convenience. The client of the digital agency is often their own worst enemy. However, digital culture is waste production culture, because hardly anyone thinks or cares about what happens to the thing once it’s produced. We must change this stunted mindset because this is the culture that is the polluting engine of global warming.

Liam Nugent podcast

Let’s green the Web

Let’s Green The Web is a five-day Twitter campaign starting this week (Monday 15) to encourage and support everybody to measure the carbon emissions of websites and share tweets highlighting the results.

Let’s Green The Web aims to “both encourage, as well as support, those who run websites to take action and reduce their carbon emissions. An important note is that we have a desire for encouraging positive behaviour change and building community. We are all in this together and collectively want to see a future with more carbon-friendly websites. Reaching out to others to talk about this problem in a constructive way is key if we want others to respond and take action.”

This is a wonderful initiative and happens in conjunction with the launch of Tom Greenwood’s really important book, Sustainable Web Design. Awareness of these issues is rising. Last week I read an article about how Volkswagen Canada has launched a sustainable website for its EV vehicles.

In 1994, there were 3,000 websites. In 2019, there were estimated to be 1.7 billion, almost one website for every three people on the planet. Not only has the number of websites exploded, the weight of each page has also skyrocketed. Between 2003 and 2019, the average webpage weight grew from about 100 KB to about 4 MB. The results?

“In our analysis of 5.2 million pages,” Brian Dean reported for Backlinko in 2019, “the average time it takes to fully load a webpage is 10.3 seconds on desktop and 27.3 seconds on mobile.” In 2013, Radware calculated that the average load time for a webpage on mobile was 4.3 seconds.

The curse of digital is the curse of the “almost nothing” cost. Over the years, article after article has told us that it costs almost nothing to send an email, to watch a Netflix movie. In fact, some commentators almost encourage us to glutton out on digital because relatively speaking it’s much better to have an online meeting than to get in a car or catch a flight.

Yes, without question, flying to a meeting creates massively more pollution than having that meeting online. However, what are rarely calculated in the costs of the online meetings are the pollution costs of the devices used for those meetings. It is in device manufacture that 80% of digital waste occurs. Last year, we produced over 50 million tons of e-waste, with less than 20% of it being recycled.

And that “almost nothing” cost of sending emails or watching Netflix? In 2020, there were over 300 billion emails sent every single day. We have produced more data in the last two years than in all of previous history. We are now producing zettabytes of data, an almost unimaginable amount. 90% of this data is not used. It’s crap. 90% of most websites I’ve worked on are crap. 90% crap code, 90% crap images, 90% crap videos, 90% crap text. Useless junk.

In digital we have become so lazy. It costs “almost nothing” to create this, to publish this, to store this. The most dangerous cost of all is the cost closest to zero.

We must think far more so that we produce far less crap. We must organize and manage and maintain and archive and remove and delete far more. To embrace sustainability we must embrace conservation of energy and resources, and the best way to do that is to pursue a mission of zero waste.

Let’s Green The Web campaign

Sustainable Web Design, Tom Greenwood

Change has become an excuse for lazy design

Modern technology is causing us to lose our capacity to think ahead, to plan, to prioritize, to design with any degree of depth. The Cloud says that we can store and save everything. Google says we don’t have to organize anything. And there’s an app for everything. AI is making us dumb.

I asked this question on Twitter recently:
“The standard of information architecture design for websites and apps has gotten better in the last ten years?”

65% of the people who responded said no. In the last 10 years information has exploded in a Big Bang of Big Data. We’ve created more data in the last two years than in all of previous history. You would think that during such a data tsunami there would be a huge focus on organizing and structuring data because otherwise, how is this data going to be useful? In many ways, the exact opposite has happened.

It reminds me of an intranet manager I knew years ago. When I first met her she was managing an intranet with about 500 pages and she was stressed because that’s a lot of pages for one person to professionally manage. When I met her a few years later she was much less stressed. Now she was managing an intranet with thousands of pages. She had given up on the idea of management and had accepted the role of put-it-upper. She had not so much gone with the flow, as gone with the tsunami.

That’s where we are today with so many organizations putting stuff up, launching and leaving. Recently, I heard from a municipality that they had launched 300 apps over the last five years and with a large number of them not currently being used. Just one municipality in one country had launched 300 apps. Unbelievable.

Change has become the great excuse. Innovation has become the great excuse. Agility has become the great excuse. Yes, things are changing, but one of the reasons things are changing so much is because we are changing things so much. Because digital allows us to change things quickly we are changing things quickly. The busyness of change has become its purpose.

Digital practices remind me of a story I heard about a building site in communist era Poland. Everything was going along at a casual pace until a “comrade” from the local Communist Party branch arrived. Suddenly, everyone got super busy. The comrade climbed up some scaffolding to view proceedings and was suitably impressed.

However, after a few minutes he noticed this fella busily maneuvering a wheelbarrow in and out, around and about. The wheelbarrow was empty and remained empty no matter how long the comrade watched. Finally, in frustration, he climbed down and demanded that the wheelbarrow driver stop. Screeching to a halt, his face now streaming with sweat, the driver looked at him in shock.
“Comrade! I have been watching you and not once have you filled this wheelbarrow. Why is that!?”
“Too busy to fill the wheelbarrow, comrade. Too busy to fill the wheelbarrow.”

Mindless change. Mindless apps, bots, content. Agile meaninglessness.

Structure matters. Organization matters. Metadata matters. Information architecture matters more today than it ever mattered. We must design things on the basis that we want them to last, rather than we expect them to change. Because when you expect nothing to last, nothing does.