The point about failing to understand progressive enhancement really hits home for me. It’s not progressive if the page is broken without the enhancement.
Icon fonts for example. They are not a progressive enhancement, because if the font doesn’t load, I see a bunch of unidentifiable Unicode squares. That is much worse than what I had before this feature was invented.
It’s like ten steps back, then nine steps forward, and “I think we’ve come out ahead. Right? Right?”
And web fonts are another example of a feature that takes control away from me and turns the browser more and more into something like a ridiculously complex vm for executing random programs streamed from the internet. Instead of speaking of the browser’s user experience, we must speak of the user experience of the application running in the browser; that’s sad.
In the past, I’d have fonts that look nice and readable to me, at a size I find comfortable. Already present on my system. Instantly loading. And I had user CSS to make things look nicer still. I had good UX. Now I must turn off that feature because otherwise I get these said unidentifiable unicode squares. Lots of layouts also break if you’re not using a specific font at a specific size…
At the same time, I subject my PC to extra resource consumption, which furher slows things down and hurts my UX. All to get fonts that I don’t care to look at. And I subject my system to more, uhm, security concerns. I shudder every time I hear the name of freetype. I can’t help but remember all the numerous font parsing & rendering bugs, and not just in freetype.
I’m so free. Because the source is gpl or mpl or somethingpl, and because open standards. Yes I’m so free. I just can’t change a thing without breaking everything.
Kinda like stuck in a hole in the ground in the woods. With a broken leg. Totally, legally, free to go anywhere I like. And completely stuck.
Sorry for the rant…
No need to be sorry at all in my opinion. In fact, it’s hard to get enough of these, so by all means, keep ‘em coming. This is exactly the type of rant I think we need. Seriously. I think it’s great when these bogative superficial ideas about aesthetics, so-called 'killer features’ and so on are called out for what they truly are, and how they affect peoples' experiences. And I hope they help to preemptively terminate many “incredible journeys”. In this case, if it hurts their perceived value, you’re doing it right: what you say is the bobdamn truth and it needs to be said, read, understood, and propagated.