The Spartan Web

Every once in a while people lament that the web is not what it once was. I claim that this web is still there but hidden. Hidden between commercial interests optimized for attention.

Surely the past is romanticized. The web in the 90s had its problems as well. Remember the Flash ads and pervasive construction signs. Still, we did not have full videos on auto-play back then.

Today, when you visit a website to read an article, which might be a thousand words of text, your browser might easily load megabytes of data for that. The whole bible fits into one megabyte. When these data packets arrive I would love to go into spartan mode and kick them into a deep dark hole.


I would love to be in a more spartan web. What if it is actually all out there? What if I have just not discovered it yet?

Define: Spartan Web

I want to see the amateurs, hobbyists, and nerds because their (primary) interest is not commercial. There is nothing wrong with earning money on the web but in my experience it makes a difference if you optimize for your readers or their wallets (or attention).

I want to see pages which load less than 1MB, ideally less than 100KB like this one. Especially if the content is text. Sometimes illustrations are worth it and with todays high-resolution screens images can be big.

I want to see no or at least little Javascript. Especially if you use Javascript for ads and tracking. If your website is readable in a text browser without Javascript then not only blind people will be thankful.

I want to see more hand-written HTML and CSS. If you are producing content for the web then it makes sense to know what the web is made of.

These are guidelines, not rules. Publishing on the web involves creativity. Creativity involves breaking rules.

This definition is very close to brutalist web design, but brutalism is usually associated with very little styling. For example, brutalists links use default colors (blue underlined text). This is no requirement for spartan web design. On the other hand, brutalist web design (according to the linked website) does not oppose Javascript, it just requires it to not mess the browsers default behavior (back button, scrolling).

Reddit Community r/SpartanWeb

I believe that there is actually a lot of spartan web out there because I have already seen some of it. Maybe you can help me collect it, so I started a subreddit for that: r/SpartanWeb.

Let us escape the madness.

This has nothing to do with the University of Tampa.

Defining a label for websites I like to visit and would like to see more of.