Everything you want in a website—and less: AEA and Microsoft Edge revive the 10k Apart contest

Could you build an entire website using less than 5 kilobytes? Not a paragraph or a dinky GIF image, mind you, but a complete, full-fledged, working website crafted with under 5k of stuff. Well, could you?

That was the question Stewart Butterfield posed to our industry back in 2000. He asked because, even back in those comparatively primitive times, conscientious designers and developers worried that the young web was already becoming bloated. Many of us believed that bandwidth abuse, which included overreliance on tricky scripting, was harmful to the accessibility, usability, and overall long-term health of the web. We worried and worried. And then one of us finally did something about it.

Stewart—who would later go on to do cool things like cofound Flickr and Slack—posed his 5k challenge in the form of a contest. And hundreds of designers and developers rose to it, creating amazing works of art using less than 5k and more than a little ingenuity. The contest was such a huge hit that Stewart repeated it in 2001 and 2002.

In 2010, An Event Apart and Microsoft revived the contest with an updated limit (10k) and a new name: the 10k Apart. True to its heritage, the 10k Apart once again urged designers and developers to get ultra-creative within an insanely low bandwidth constraint. Why the jump from 5k to 10k? Because competitors had to pull off a responsive design, maintain accessibility, and perform other dazzling feats unknown in the era of the original 5k contest. And, once again, the community outdid itself rising to the challenge.

If this sounds like your kind of challenge, have we got an announcement for you: as part of our tenth anniversary celebrations, AEA and Microsoft Edge are bringing back the 10k Apart contest—this time with even more new challenges. Visit our new contest website for complete details on contest rules and challenges.

As to why you'd want to compete (besides the love of a good challenge and the bragging rights), prizes include cash rewards for the top three winners, plus tickets to An Event Apart, the complete A Book Apart series, and copies of Aaron Gustafson's brilliant Adaptive Web Design 2nd Edition, which Jeremy Keith and Jeffrey Zeldman consider the modern Bible of developing with progressive enhancement.

So what are you waiting for? Head over to the brand-spanking new contest website and start planning your victory speech.

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