You may have met someone who was a Utilitarian at some point in your life. I had never really directly heard this word, until shopping for new bike tires and an upsell pitch came through. Growing up, my Mom was definitely (and still is) a Utilitarian to a certain degree. She made quite a few standard dinners. Stir fry. Chicken Pot Pie (yum). Spaghetti. Meat + Starch + Veggie standard dinner.
She did this out of a method of utility. Think of utility as being the easiest means to an end.
Imagine this, you’re at a bike shop, and get pitched an upsell for your bike.
What if, for you, getting on your bike and riding directly up to the front door of the grocery store is the easiest and most efficient way to pick up groceries?
Utilitarianism in Web Design and Web Development
As web developers, we look at problems every day. We will most always look at a couple of different ways to solve that problem, especially if it is something new.
Case and point, creating a video background from a video I shot at the Charleston Harbor. Here was my workflow
- Search around about video backgrounds – first I find this CSS Tricks article, in which Chris Coyier raises some pretty good points about video backgrounds
- Then I looked in the comments, found some more links (along with a jQuery solution he skeptically links to), other ways to do it, even a working demo on Codepen
- THEN, I realize the entire purpose of this video background, is for the front page of my portfolio (you are seeing a single article here), which is on the Genesis Framework
I realized at that point, there is a Genesis Developer who has pretty much done every single code snippet and functionality piece for Genesis you’d need.
Here’s the rub: A while back he paywalled all of his code snippets.
Here’s the solution: I remembered that he pulls all of his information from Gists on Github.
Why should you care?
How did I find the code for free? I used a “command line ‘Gister’” – and a basic expression check when pulling all of his gists.
gist -l srikat | grep video
If you notice, before his paywalled link, there is a link to his Gist
This is Utilitarian, efficiently using the tools and knowledge that you have accumulated to accomplish the quickest means to an end.
Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/89119745@N00/18104834005