Great article on what Web 2.0 really is. If you haven't yet heard of the term, I urge you to get acquainted with this new buzzword and with the future views hidden behind it. If you are a designer, an online publisher or an executive in the business of creating effective online communication strategies this is an absolute must-read:
"In Web 1.0, a small number of writers created Web pages for a large number of readers. As a result, people could get information by going directly to the source: Adobe.com for graphic design issues, Microsoft.com for Windows issues, and CNN.com for news.
Photo credit: Angyal Ã‰vi
Over time, however, more and more people started writing content in addition to reading it. This had an interesting effect -- suddenly there was too much information to keep up with! We did not have enough time for everyone who wanted our attention and visiting all sites with relevant content simply wasn't possible. As personal publishing caught on and went mainstream, it became apparent that the Web 1.0 paradigm had to change."
Enter Web 2.0, a vision of the Web in which information is broken up into "microcontent" units that can be distributed over dozens of domains. The Web of documents has morphed into a Web of data. We are no longer just looking to the same old sources for information. Now we're looking to a new set of tools to aggregate and remix microcontent in new and useful ways.
These tools, the interfaces of Web 2.0, will become the frontier of design innovation.
And what authors say is that the evidence is already fully in front of us. You just need to stop and look at it. It's everywhere around you already.
"...RSS aggregators, search engines, portals, APIs (application programming interfaces, which provide hooks to data) and Web services (where data can be accessed via XML-RPC, SOAP and other technologies). Google Maps (in beta) provides the same functionality as similar competing services but features a far superior interface. Flickr's interface is one of the most intuitive and beloved around. Del.icio.us offers personal and social functionality, and reaches far beyond its own site.
Interfaces like these are changing the way we store, access, and share information."
It matters very little what domain content comes from.
Six major trends define and characterize what Web 2.0 will mean to online designers.
This excellent article explores and defines them all while providing some useful examples.
What does this mean for Web designers? It means designers have to start thinking about how to brand content as well as sites. It means designers have to get comfortable with Web services and think beyond presentation of place to APIs and syndication. In short, it means designers need to become more like programmers.
According to Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com, Web 2.0 is a world of thin front ends and powerful back ends.