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When we design a digital product, or carry out a service, do we always put honesty and best practice above everything?

Are we, as agencies who make our living from the World Wide Web, doing our part in making it a better place?

To mark the magnificent milestone of the World Wide Web’s 30th Birthday, its founder penned an open letter. Describing the occasion, Sir Tim Berners-Lee said; “It’s a moment to celebrate how far we’ve come, but also an opportunity to reflect on how far we have yet to go.”

It is understandable, the great creator believes, why many people ‘feel afraid and unsure’ about whether the web is truly a force for good.

So, he has now called upon all digital users – and companies - to ‘create a better web’, one that serves all of humanity. This got us here at Everest Media, and specifically our MD Sam Armondi, thinking about what that means for agencies like us. What role do we play in creating a better web? More importantly, what role should we play?

What did Sir Tim say about the World Wide Web 30 years on?

Sir Tim perhaps pointed out the obvious. However, while doing so he gave off an air of hope. He says there are three sources of ‘dysfunction’ affecting today’s web that must be tackled.

These include:

  • ‘Deliberate, malicious intent’ – such as criminal behaviour, state-sponsored attacks and hacking, and online harassment
  • ‘System design that creates perverse incentives’ – like the viral spread of misinformation, or ad-based revenue models that commercially reward clickbait. Basically, the sacrifice of user value.
  • ‘Unintended negative consequences of benevolent design’ – the outraged and polarising tone and quality of online discourse.

The web has changed so much in the past three decades. That’s why Sir Tim believes it would be “defeatist” and unimaginative” to assume the web as we know it cannot be changed for the better in the next 30 - and Team Everest agree.

“If we give up on building a better web now, then the web will not have failed us,” wrote Sir Tim. “We will have failed the web.”

He later added: “The web is for everyone and collectively we hold the power to change it. It won’t be easy. But if we dream a little and work a lot, we can get the web we want.”

For him, this is all about our ‘journey from digital adolescence’ to a ‘more mature, responsible and inclusive’ future.

A full copy of the letter can be read here.

How can companies like Everest Media build a better web?

Sir Tim is calling for everyone to “come together as a global web community”. For our MD, Sir Tim’s words truly resonated with the principles Everest Media is built on.

“Companies have been called on to do more to ensure their pursuit of short-term profit does not come at a lasting price for others,” said Sam. “This is the way it should be anyway.

“We fully concur with Sir Tim that platforms must be designed with privacy, diversity and security in mind. You wouldn’t sell anyone a car today without an alarm and tell them that security was their responsibility, would you? Yet somehow it’s still acceptable to build ‘cheap and fast’ websites that do not address those basic requirements.”

The importance of making sure the web is available for everyone is also something we’re passionate about. This is why we love creating platforms for clients that are accessible and scalable for their consumers.

We’ve got a proud history of this. Check out what happened when we boosted accessibility for our clients Phoneta, or when we redesigned the ecommerce section of a major European publisher.

“The bottom line? We have a responsibility to make the web a better place, everyone has, but especially companies,” says Sam.

Everest Media MD & co-founder, Sam Armondi, was impressed by Sir Tim Berners-Lee's comments about the World Wide Web's 30th Birthday.

“It’s really exciting and inspiring to see the work being done regarding the Contract for the Web. Make no mistake, this is a crucial stage.

He added: “What can we do? We must take the initiative and pro-actively educate clients about why these things are so important and what value they add to the projects we do for them. This will allow us to carry on producing high-end, ethical solutions that we and our clients can be proud of.”

“We don’t believe in the short-term, and we’ve proved this by always Putting Growth Strategy First. We help people out when they need it, but we never look for a cheap way out – if we’re taking a project on, we need to know we will be able to do it well.

“Opportunity, creativity and equality – that’s exactly what Sir Tim, and Everest Media, want to see the World Wide Web enjoy in the next 30 years, if not much sooner!

Content for you!

Did you enjoy reading this opinion piece? If you think there’s something else we should be talking about, or you would like to hear more from us on a certain subject, just let us know!

We’ve recently put together our new Explainer Series, where Team Everest explain more about their work behind the scenes. So, be sure to check that out!

If you would like to influence our weekly blog posts get in touch with Tom Gainey, our Digital Copywriter, at tom.gainey@everest-media.co.uk

Remember, we’re only a call, email or visit away if you want to know more about how we can become your Digital Success Partner.

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