ASPIRE: Ideals to Aspire to When Building Websites

When we set out to build websites, it can help to retain a list of goals. There are many qualities that can make or break an experience on the web, and it’s sadly common for sites to fall short in some critical areas (like performance or accessibility) while still excelling at others (like responsive design). Great sites are made through a combination of best practices, so perhaps a handy acronym can be helpful for recalling our priorities as we work.

ASPIRE is an acronym that neatly covers some ideal qualities that I think we should… aspire to, when aiming to create excellent websites. The term came from a twitter reply yesterday. I had proposed the more mediocre term SPARE, and Aaron van de Weijenbergh cleverly added that an “I” would allow for “ASPIRE.”

It seemed to fit well. Thanks Aaron! I particularly love that the word aspire is about goals, and not necessarily rules. There may be no site on the web that truly nails every quality on this list, but it’s still useful to define what we think is great. So here’s that acronym.

Great websites should aspire to be:

  • Accessible to folks with varying cognitive and physical abilities and disabilities
  • Secure and reliable for storing, manipulating, and transferring information
  • Performant on average devices and in constrained or unreliable network conditions
  • Inclusive to diverse audiences and produced by diverse teams to create better experiences
  • Responsive in adapting the user interface contextually to any screen
  • Ethical in how users’ preferences and data are handled

These definitions will vary from person to person, and to be fair, there are more qualities that contribute to a great website. Many of those qualities might fall into these categories, but perhaps some won’t. Regardless, the types of sites I personally want to see on the web aim to excel at these qualities.

Thanks! Thoughts? Hit me up!

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