UX Magazine

Defining and Informing the Complex Field of User Experience (UX)
Article No. 27 February 7, 2006

Web2.0: Revolution or Evolution?

First it was Ajax. The hype Ajax carried along was – and still is – a big thing on the Web. What Ajax did was not engaging a revolution; it was practically about showing the “right“ way to use pre existing technology and means in the web applications market.

I believe Web2.0 is the same thing for the Web as a whole. While Ajax movement is all practically about proper usage of DOM and JavaScript, Web2.0 is all about using the Web (yes, the existing web) and all it’s properties the way it “should“ be used, the way we may want it to be yet we don’t know it can be (yet).

A metaphor to rule ‘em all

Imagine web as a kingdom. This kingdom has quite some properties and people tags in its territory.
Content tends to be the king and glue to unite them all, simplicity the queen and standards the laws to make this kingdom work in harmony and quality.

All in all Web is and acts pretty much as our non-web life; In this life, the real one, the more discipline we have as whole, the more quality we share.

So, what Web2.0 is?

Let’s get back to basics. What is really Web2.0? Is it a new version of the Web in the manner of Windows series? Is it a Web XP, or Web Vista kind of thing? (A short note here is that if Microsoft had its plans fulfilled with his MSN vision, I am sure we would have come to a Web Vista name pretty soon.)

My opinion is that it’s all about a new era. An era where interfaces, simplicity, usability and standards will prevail. An era where the Web as a kingdom will be accounted as the Internet kingdom. I am pretty sure the above sound too ideal and harmonic to your ears, believe me so they do in my ears too.

There are times though we should (as humans) fantasize the ideal – the divine – in order to achieve the acceptable. This makes me think and demand lots from this this new era arising.

In conclusion, Web2.0 is or should be all about:

  • Content syndication (RSS & ATOM)
  • Web as an OS
  • Content and services Re-usability
  • Plethora of APIs
  • Free content thus information and knowledge for more
  • Semantic web
  • Remixing and reusing web assets

All in all it’s all about making the internet useful to the computers as Jeff Bezos said.

But hey, let me expand this to:

Web2.0: Internet useful to humans.

We already have debate, conferences and scenarios going on the Web2.0 movement. You probably think this post is another one.

The very true is that it’s all about declaring my hope and agony for a better Web.

Good Web – Good people

Aristotle: All men by nature desire knowledge.

Let’s work with this quote in combination with the ideal Web we all want and wish for. Let’s see this new vision as a social effect.

As Heraclitus said,
“Abundance of knowledge does not teach men to be wise“. This said, we having more content and knowledge in our hands will not make us wise.

Here come the standards (laws) and other tools to make this knowledge useful, thus truly making us wiser.

What being wiser means? I believe being wiser is close to being more human. Being more human results in more love, a less scattered and brutal world.

Being more human results in more love, a less scattered and brutal world.

Remember live8? I can’t recall how many sites were badged with the make poverty history sign. I do believe this is because the messages and the hype this event was channeled through the right web media the right and solid way. I also believe this caused a lot of people to believe there are still good people in the world/web.

In conclusion e-living in an “ideal” and useful web environment where we will have more opportunities to appreciate the goods we are given will ideally make us wiser and eventually more human.

To end this fairy-like post and to remind you the purpose it was written for, let me use the words of Carl Sandburg:

I’m an idealist. I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)

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Comments

18
27

Everything on the internet is an evolution.
miami blog

20
23

I think now Web 3.0 is also coming soon so we'll be seeing more how web changes itself, Web 2.0 featured blogs and interaction with people became much more easier and now any website can interact with its viewers through Web 2.0 technology so I would say, it's evolution, and now I've heard web 3.0 is being developed as well so maybe we'll have a whole new set of laws for it and we may find it much more exciting than web 2.0.

Regards

Audrey Ross
(Coconut Grove real estate)

17
21

I might not have all the information to make a useful comment, but is there one thing or one practice that will let us know that we are in Web2.0 instead of 1.0? I see it as a really hazy transition instead of the widespread acceptance of a certain set of rules or adoption of a certain applications.

That being said, it would be a really great hazy transition.

I think the ones who want Web2.0 the most will be able to contribute to it the most, and will ultimately reap the benefits. It’s just a matter of getting everyone else to follow.

19
20

The way I see it, it’s a hazy transition by definition.

I see Web2.0 as more of a conversation than a technology or technique. Most of the articles and posts I’ve read that take a negative view are trying to define it as “AJAX”, or “Google__”, and IMHO miss the larger point that it’s all a starting place for us to work out exactly what we want the web to become.

20
23

I personally think a big aspect of Web2.0 is realizing that you are designing/building a site that the user can, and will, change to suit their needs by using things like RSS, browser extensions and even just font resizing.

Making a Web2.0 site means that you almost push the user to interact with your content in as many ways possible and accommodate them to do so.

Just adding some acronym tech, a Web2.0 site does not make.

20
17

I agree with david here, web2.0 is not a ‘brand’ nor a border that everybody will once cross saying ‘hey, look! im 2.0 now, cool huh?’. It’s gonna happen only because web designers (i’m thinking about everybody involved in the web process here) will know/understand/think it as powerfully usable as it can already be. But we all should think about Heraclitus words aformentionned
"Abundance of knowledge does not teach men to be wise" (great choice btw) as web2.0 is already possible (just think about ajax) but not yed realized, so why?
Our job, as i suppose most people getting here are really interested in UX topics, is to show ‘men’ what is already to their reach and thus to educate them to refuse old web1.0.
Best regards

22
23

Let’s hope the adaption of common-sense standards like the royalty of content and usability helps the web considerably. Personally, I am sick of dealing with ignorant people on these matters.

21
18

I'm an idealist. I don't know where I'm going, but I'm on my way.

me too…

22
18

Is there a date for Web 2.0?

I doubt anyone not reading the hype will even notice the transition. It’s a bit like the Y2K “bug” in that respect – a lot of hype, over nothing.

22
15

it seems that everyone keeps asking this question, but few realize that there actually is an answer. please see this article, from the folks who coined the term:

http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/oreilly/tim/news ...

this is, in my opionion, a seminal article, and a must read for everyone in our business.

21
23

The web will constantly change and I personally do not think it needs a version 2 name at all. The web will always contain badly coded, non user friendly sites and also sites which will conform to your web2 ideal.

Dont get me wrong, I live by web standards and usability etc.

I think the biggest change will be the move on to other mediums and devices. Is web2 another name for Portable or for a new synthetic oil?

21
25

One point to rule them all:

Web as an OS

This is the real deal. When all you need to manipulate an electronic device (computer, mobile, pda, dvd, ipod….) is a browser, when all the software you use will come from the web, when all your data is available to you anywhere you go… then we all will live in a web2.0 world.

Until then it is Web2.0 beta

18
21

also, think (or search) ‘rich client’ XHTML 2 / HTML 5 and the new Canvas tag – about time (try it now in Firefox 1.5 or Safari)!

20
25

you people should check todays www.somethingawful.com update.

25
21

how? how start to web 2.0?

20
21

For something you claim promises the next big thing, you’re preaching the same deadening mantra as the usability “gurus” of the late 90’s/early 00’s. Yes, usabilty is necessary, yes standards are great, but neither are sufficient for a great web experience.

I assume we’re discussing the commercial web here. Not all brands call for a transactional or goal directed approach to web-design. Alternatively, usability is not co-extensive with user experience; there’s a lot more to an engaging experience online than effectiveness, efficiency and learnability (the sum of which supposedly equal satisfaction, although there’s considerable research suggesting the contrary). Websites, as commercial brand communications, require that the designer utilize all relevant means presented by the medium to communicate with the consumer, in terms of the brand.

I’m a strong propnent of the applicational approach to web design; the seperation of functionality and navigation is a great leap forward. As is the notion of “findability” so prevalent among the “semantic web”-heads. Still, using the rhetoric of “either do things our way or it will be apparent that you hate the user” to brow-beat designers into following every single standard usually results in a dark-ages-like dearth of innovation until the inevitable backlash occurs.

So, instead of spouting a supeficially updated re-hash of the usability battle-cry, trying to institute some sort of cookie-cutter brave new web, realize that standards and usability are important, but not the real goal in and of themselves. Engaging web experiences which instantiate the brand online is what it’s all about.

22
20

For something you claim promises the next big thing, you’re preaching the same deadening mantra as the usability “gurus” of the late 90’s/early 00’s. Yes, usabilty is necessary, yes standards are great, but neither are sufficient for a great web experience.

I assume we’re discussing the commercial web here. Not all brands call for a transactional or goal directed approach to web-design. Alternatively, usability is not co-extensive with user experience; there’s a lot more to an engaging experience online than effectiveness, efficiency and learnability (the sum of which supposedly equal satisfaction, although there’s considerable research suggesting the contrary). Websites, as commercial brand communications, require that the designer utilize all relevant means presented by the medium to communicate with the consumer, in terms of the brand.

I’m a strong propnent of the applicational approach to web design; the seperation of functionality and navigation is a great leap forward. As is the notion of “findability” so prevalent among the “semantic web”-heads. Still, using the rhetoric of “either do things our way or it will be apparent that you hate the user” to brow-beat designers into following every single standard usually results in a dark-ages-like dearth of innovation until the inevitable backlash occurs.

So, instead of spouting a supeficially updated re-hash of the usability battle-cry, trying to institute some sort of cookie-cutter brave new web, realize that standards and usability are important, but not the real goal in and of themselves. Engaging web experiences which instantiate the brand online is what it’s all about.

23
27

how? how start to web 2.0?

22
26

you people should check todays www.somethingawful.com update.

19
20

also, think (or search) ‘rich client’ XHTML 2 / HTML 5 and the new Canvas tag – about time (try it now in Firefox 1.5 or Safari)!

22
20

One point to rule them all:

Web as an OS

This is the real deal. When all you need to manipulate an electronic device (computer, mobile, pda, dvd, ipod….) is a browser, when all the software you use will come from the web, when all your data is available to you anywhere you go… then we all will live in a web2.0 world.

Until then it is Web2.0 beta

23
21

The web will constantly change and I personally do not think it needs a version 2 name at all. The web will always contain badly coded, non user friendly sites and also sites which will conform to your web2 ideal.

Dont get me wrong, I live by web standards and usability etc.

I think the biggest change will be the move on to other mediums and devices. Is web2 another name for Portable or for a new synthetic oil?

25
20

it seems that everyone keeps asking this question, but few realize that there actually is an answer. please see this article, from the folks who coined the term:

http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/oreilly/tim/news ...

this is, in my opionion, a seminal article, and a must read for everyone in our business.

23
22

Is there a date for Web 2.0?

I doubt anyone not reading the hype will even notice the transition. It’s a bit like the Y2K “bug” in that respect – a lot of hype, over nothing.

21
19

I'm an idealist. I don't know where I'm going, but I'm on my way.

me too…

20
21

Let’s hope the adaption of common-sense standards like the royalty of content and usability helps the web considerably. Personally, I am sick of dealing with ignorant people on these matters.

23
21

I agree with david here, web2.0 is not a ‘brand’ nor a border that everybody will once cross saying ‘hey, look! im 2.0 now, cool huh?’. It’s gonna happen only because web designers (i’m thinking about everybody involved in the web process here) will know/understand/think it as powerfully usable as it can already be. But we all should think about Heraclitus words aformentionned
"Abundance of knowledge does not teach men to be wise" (great choice btw) as web2.0 is already possible (just think about ajax) but not yed realized, so why?
Our job, as i suppose most people getting here are really interested in UX topics, is to show ‘men’ what is already to their reach and thus to educate them to refuse old web1.0.
Best regards

24
20

I personally think a big aspect of Web2.0 is realizing that you are designing/building a site that the user can, and will, change to suit their needs by using things like RSS, browser extensions and even just font resizing.

Making a Web2.0 site means that you almost push the user to interact with your content in as many ways possible and accommodate them to do so.

Just adding some acronym tech, a Web2.0 site does not make.

23
20

The way I see it, it’s a hazy transition by definition.

I see Web2.0 as more of a conversation than a technology or technique. Most of the articles and posts I’ve read that take a negative view are trying to define it as “AJAX”, or “Google__”, and IMHO miss the larger point that it’s all a starting place for us to work out exactly what we want the web to become.

21
21

I might not have all the information to make a useful comment, but is there one thing or one practice that will let us know that we are in Web2.0 instead of 1.0? I see it as a really hazy transition instead of the widespread acceptance of a certain set of rules or adoption of a certain applications.

That being said, it would be a really great hazy transition.

I think the ones who want Web2.0 the most will be able to contribute to it the most, and will ultimately reap the benefits. It’s just a matter of getting everyone else to follow.