This is all coming off of the back of my post about pushing out bigger projects to more users. It’s the flipside if you will. Twenty million people might see a page but what does that mean?

When I first started at 383 I worked on a tiny little webpage for a local community. It took a week and was probably seen by 10 people. But that was a seriously cool achievement; someone had paid me to make them a little bit of the web. If I got something wrong, missed a cache or spelt a word wrong, no biggie (though obviously I’d want to fix it).

These bigger projects though, a mistake can be costly. I pushed back on a feature on a map recently, it was a simple heatmap, nothing technically challenging. But if it went wrong, thousands of people would lose their job.

It’s crazy to think of the repercussions of a decision. That map, in it’s original form, would have directed people away to places they (and the client) don’t want to go. That costs the client business. Businesses close. Employees lose their jobs and families go hungry.

Maybe it’s my brain running a dozen moves ahead, but it helps to think about the impact seemingly small changes can have. We like to think of the web as the pinnacle of where business and information end up, but for most people it’s still just all a resource. Find something, get something, go and do something in the real world.

Our decisions have real consequences. From the basic deciding what to put on a page, through to how to implement it. I learnt pretty quickly you can’t rely on caching to patch over problems, but in the same vein if you can avoid those pitfalls early on, the better.