Naming the Wider Web

I will admit it, I like naming things.

Projects, ideas, and pets; I love looking into their essential nature and pulling out a word or phrase that becomes their verbal and written flagship. I love it when other people engage in word-play with me until we find that perfect turn.

The web itself has many names: the world wide web, progressive web apps, the responsive web, the immersive web. Long ago, we even had Web 2.0.

These last few weeks, I've written about a specific future of the web, when browsers support more displays (including XR headsets), more control types (including spatial), and many more input types like tracked wands and hand gestures.

There is a future when we do all of the current responsive web work for mobile and desktop devices, but we add to that support for the many new types of AR and VR devices.

With WebXR coming to browsers, this future web needs a name.

I can't keep typing "the web when we have three display modes (...), three control types (...), new input types ..." if for no other reason than it takes up most of the 280 characters of a tweet.

I've had the naming conversation with my work team. Last night I had a nice Twitter thread on the topic. Here's what I've heard so far:

  • the ultra-responsive web
  • just "the web" because it already implies responsive
  • the transreality web
  • the "Full Monty" web (from comedian coder @joshmarinacci)
  • the trans-, cross-, or pan-context web

So far, my favorite is simply "the wider web".

I originally coined this phrase as a placeholder name, but last night I realized that "wider" has a few nice meanings:

  • spatially: it implies "more" of a dimension
  • responsively: it includes more hardware
  • socially: it welcomes more people, like spatial artists

I probably won't stop looking for a better name, but for now this is what I'm going with:

the wider web:
A near future web that responsively supports:

  • three display modes: flat, portal, and immersive
  • three control types: page, overlay, and spatial
  • new input types: wands, gestures, and voices

It's not perfect, but it'll do for now.

More posts

Recent posts

  • PotassiumES Devlog #3

    Using Three.js to build a reusable border geometry for spatial UIs!

  • PotassiumES Devlog #2

    🌸 Updated potassium style system (KSS), now with margins!
    🌸 The path to the vNext
    🌸 A couple of new spatial controls

  • PotassiumES Devlog #1

    🌸 A brief intro to the existing samples
    🌸 Building UI components that work in flat, portal, and immersive display modes

  • What is PotassiumES?

    Update: This is still a handy reference but you might be interested in the new PotassiumES site.


    This is a post about PotassiumES, an ECMAScript library that enables browser-side development for the wider web. If you're not sure about the wider web, click that ...

  • Wider Web Lingo

    Update: This is still a handy reference but you might be interested in the new wider web section of the PotassiumES site.


    People sling around a lot of lingo when talking about the wider web, and even the term "wider web" is lingo!

  • Wider Web Lingo: Voice

    There's a lot of lingo around the wider web so this is one of a series of short definition posts.

    Voice: Phrases or other vocal noises that can be recognized and used as input

    Computers are getting pretty good at understanding ...

  • Wider Web Lingo: Gesture

    There's a lot of lingo around the wider web so this is one of a series of short definition posts.

    Gesture: A body motion that can be recognized and used as input

    Computers are getting better at watching how we position ...

  • Wider Web Lingo: More Hugs, Fewer Thugs

    There's a lot of lingo around the wider web so this is one of a series of short definition posts.

    More hugs, fewer thugs

    The wider web is inherently more intimate than the flat web that you hold in your hand ...

  • Wider Web Lingo: Spatial Controls

    There's a lot of lingo around the wider web so this is one of a series of short definition posts.

    Spatial controls: Interactive visual elements that are placed in the real or virtual environment

    Unlike page controls or overlay controls (the ...

  • Wider Web Lingo: Overlay Controls

    There's a lot of lingo around the wider web so this is one of a series of short definition posts.

    Overlay controls: Visual elements that seem to sit on top of a portal display

    Overlay controls on the wider web float ...