Web design, despite being a century old, is still in its infancy, with the internet only being a quarter-century old. The early years of aviation offer an analogous trajectory; rapid development followed by a plateau. The rapid growth phase of the web, similar to aviation’s ‘Golden Age’, gave way to a period of consolidation. The web, like aviation, is now characterised by incremental improvement rather than revolutionary change.

The web’s future, however, is uncertain. While the aviation industry’s growth was curtailed by physical limits, the web faces no such constraints. Yet, it is not immune to stagnation. The web’s potential is being limited by a focus on commercialisation and a lack of ambition for its future. The obsession with startups and their potential for financial return has resulted in a lack of focus on the web’s potential for societal benefit.

The web’s future is dependent on a shift in focus. It must move away from short-term commercial gains and towards long-term societal benefit. The web has the potential to be the greatest tool for human advancement, but this potential is being squandered. It is time to reimagine the web’s future and realise its untapped potential.

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