Cruft, in the development world is defined as:

‘badly designed, unnecessarily complicated, or unwanted code or software.’

In web design it can refer to all the junk – not to mention http posts – one has to wade through to get to an online article – as in the case explored in this Telerik article. How many times have you been at home or work (on lunch break of course) and scrolled through your social feeds and stumbled upon an article that you simply HAD to read only to find yourself lost in ads and popups? I often decide, as much as I want to know about famous people’s most embarrassing moments, it’s not worth the slow loading, awkward jerky scrolling and fireworks of advertising dialogs.

I completely agree with the writers over at Telerik. It’s all about the money, and that makes perfect sense. Regardless of the future of print media, more and more of us are reading articles on our phones, tablets and computers. As publishers respond with electronic versions (or a complete shift from printed media), they need to generate revenue from these articles.

Nothing is Free.
When we browse social feeds and click on various online articles, those publishers need to get paid. We trade off free reading for the pain of dealing with a flood of advertising and links. The beauty of the market system is we – the people – will keep it in line. Who will clean up all the cruft out there? We the readers. The worse the cruft gets the less inclined we will be to click on the top offenders’ articles and the less time we will spend in wastelands of ads and popups. The industry will be forced to get more reader friendly.

If your company generates revenue online it is important to keep your visitors in mind. Make sure their experience on your website is enjoyable AND profitable to you. That is why it is vital to hire a web designer who can ‘keep your site classy’ as well as profitable.


To read more about cruft and what is being done about it, read Telerik’s article here.