Introduction: Discovering Where We Are Not
Today there is an increasingly important and relevant space between the core of the networked computer and the brain (or mind) of the user. If you replicate that area about 2.3 billion times, you have not only a pretty serious condition, but also a fairly rough sketch of our existence today. That is, 33 % of the planet’s human population is connected to and utilizes the Web. In 2013, about a billion people will do this actively, while using the Web from a mobile device (“Internet World Stats”). That is why this book exists. It is a survey of the activity in this area and some discussion about why these topics are significant to humans. In a nutshell, the ways in which we go about building parts of the Web directly affect the larger context of the Web. Web sites have become increasingly dense. As more and more services and information are made available over the Internet and intranets, Web sites have become extraordinarily complex, while their correctness is often crucial to the success of businesses, governments, and our social relations (Benedikt, Freire, and Patrice). It is becoming more and more apparent as time goes on that the context of the Web is the context for a large part of humanity. Not so trivial topics such as keeping the Web open for freedom of speech, and simultaneously protecting our youth from pornography and cyber bullying; allowing for the Web to be effective for government, but policed of the abuse of power and political terrorism; and making sure that the Web is a medically, physiologically, and emotionally healthy environment for individuals and society. These are lofty goals, and achieving them starts with the smaller decisions Web developers, designers, stake holders, admins, and users make every time they access their devices.