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Web 2.0: Beyond the Hype.” Usability Professionals Association, Minneapolis MN; February 2006.


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Presentation deconstructing the "web 2.0" meme that was feverishly taking over the web following the widespread adoption of AJAX programming techniques.

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Web 2.0: Beyond the Hype.” Usability Professionals Association, Minneapolis MN; February 2006.

  1. 1. Web 2.0 Is there a There there?
  2. 2. A colleague… “The bottom line…reality is that nobody really cares about the terms used to make technology happen, the only people who do are the writers…and you guys got sucked in because you read a lot.”
  3. 3. Tim Bray “I just wanted to say how much I’ve come to dislike this “Web 2.0” faux-meme. It’s not only vacuous marketing hype, it can’t possibly be right. In terms of qualitative changes of everyone’s experience of the Web, the first happened when Google hit its stride and suddenly search was useful for, and used by, everyone every day. The second—syndication and blogging turning the Web from a library into an event stream—is in the middle of happening. So a lot of us are already on 3.0. Anyhow, I think Usenet might have been the real 1.0. But most times, the whole thing still feels like a shaky early beta to me.” Co-editor XML spec, founder Antartica sw, Director of Web Technologies at Sun
  4. 4. Jeffrey Zeldman “It soon appeared that “Web 2.0” was not only bigger than the Apocalypse but also more profitable. Profitable, that is, for investors like the speaker. Yet the new gold rush must not be confused with the dotcom bubble of the 1990s: “Web 1.0 was not disruptive. You understand? Web 2.0 is totally disruptive. You know what XML is? You’ve heard about well-formedness? Okay. So anyway—” And on it ran, like a dentist’s drill in the Gulag. A List Apart, HappyCog, Designing with Web Standards
  5. 5. Joel Spolsky “The term Web 2.0 particularly bugs me. It’s not a real concept. It has no meaning. It’s a big, vague, nebulous cloud of pure architectural nothingness.” Joel on Software, Fog Creek Software
  6. 6. These are people I really respect. They’re smarter than me. So why am I here tonight talking to you about Web 2.0?
  7. 7. It’s because of the 2000 Census.
  8. 8. Google’s shared APIs are to the GNU vs. UNIX debate what the 2000 Census was to the English Only movement
  9. 9. Etymology of “Web 2.0” • The concept of "Web 2.0" began with a conference brainstorming session between O'Reilly and MediaLive International. • “Dale Dougherty, web pioneer and O'Reilly VP, noted that far from having "crashed", the web was more important than ever, with exciting new applications and sites popping up with surprising regularity. What's more, the companies that had survived the collapse seemed to have some things in common. Could it be that the dot-com collapse marked some kind of turning point for the web, such that a call to action such as "Web 2.0" might make sense?”
  10. 10. Rebuttal “Tim [Bray] is completely wrong about the big picture. Memes are almost always “marketing hype” –bumper stickers is a better way to say it-but they tend to catch on only if they capture some bit of the zeitgeist.”
  11. 11. It doesn’t matter what you call it • Open Source • AJAX • Collective intelligence/social networking • Mashups
  12. 12. Seven Characteristics (per Tim O’Reilly) • Web as platform • Harnessing collective intelligence • Primacy of data (sources) • Continuous maintenance/improvement • Lightweight programming models • SW above the level of single device • Rich user experiences
  13. 13. “Web 1.0” “Web 2.0” DoubleClick Google AdSense Ofoto Flickr Mp3 Napster Britannica Online Wikipedia Evite, EVDB Directories (taxonomy) Tagging (folksonomy) Personal websites Blogging Stickiness Syndication
  14. 14. Web as Platform • Netscape framed web as platform using old sw paradigmweb browser desktop app • Browsers & web servers both became commodities • Value moved up the chain to services delivered over the web platform
  15. 15. Harnessing Collective Intelligence • Extending the open source philosophy • Users pursue “selfish” interests & build collective value as an automatic byproduct • Dan Bricklin (VisiCalc): Cornucopia of the Commons
  16. 16. Harnessing Collective Intelligence • Hyperlinking = foundation of webassociations become stronger through repetition/intensity (Google’s breakthrough) • eBay’s product=collective activity, competitive advantage-critical mass • Wikipedia- “with enough eyeballs all bugs are shallow” Eric Raymond/Open source software • Folksonomy • Peer production methods (Linux, Apache, MySQL, Perl, PHP, Python)
  17. 17. Long Tail • Chris Anderson Wired article (2004) • Colloquial name for feature of statistical distribution in which infrequent occurences/low amplitude distribution can cumulatively outnumber/outweigh the initial such that in aggregate they constitute the majority
  18. 18. RSS-Really Simple Syndication • Remember “push”? • It turns out that people wanted “pull.”
  19. 19. Primacy of Data • Database management as core competency • Control of datasource − NavTeq/TeleAtlas/DigitalGlobe root of mapping; Mapquest pioneered in 1995competing apps by licensing same data − Amazon & ISBN
  20. 20. Classes of core data • Location • Identity • Calendaring of public events • Product identifiers • namespaces
  21. 21. Release Cycle Obsolete • Service ceases to perform unless maintained on a daily basis • Release early/release often • Real time monitoring of user behavior
  22. 22. Lightweight programming models • AJAX, RSS, HTML − Barriers to re-use low − HTML’s “view source” • Lightweight business models—innovation in assembly − Dell assembly of commodity hardware • AdSense as “snap in equivalent of a business model”
  23. 23. AJAX : asynchronous javascript + HTML • Pages that interact with the server without refreshingfeels flash-like • Web standards − CSS: layout − XML: data − XHTML: markup − JavaScript/DOM: behavior
  24. 24. AJAX • Standards based presentation using XHTML and CSS • Dynamic display and interaction using Document Object Model • Data interchange and manipulation using XML • Asynchronous data retrieval using XHTML HttpRequest • JavaScript binding everything together
  25. 25. Focus moves from the single device • iTunes − Application seamlessly reaches from handheld device to massive web backend with PC as local cache/control station
  26. 26. Rich User Experiences • Word processor: wiki-style collaborative editing + rich formatting • Project management via Basecamp, Ta-da
  27. 27. Social Networking • Power of weak ties • MySpace: more views than Google
  28. 28. Free tagging, Folksonomy, Intersection of personal & public
  29. 29. Folksonomy: flickr
  30. 30. Folksonomy:
  31. 31. Folksonomy: popularity Solo/group FIRST Authority in numbers Timeliness relationships
  32. 32. Social Networking Meets Folksonomy
  33. 33. Social Networking Meets Folksonomy
  34. 34. Mashups • Web app hybrids • Seamlessly combined content from more than one source • Typically sourced from a 3rd party via an API − Application programming interface
  35. 35. What does it mean for us? • UX Designers: wireframing virtually impossible • End of paper prototyping? • More technical expertise required?
  36. 36. What *else* does it mean for us? • You tell me.
  37. 37. Thank you! Samantha Bailey Director, Usability -- Thomson West
  38. 38. References • Slide 2: • Slide 3, 13, 16, 17: • Slide 4, 30: • Slide 6: • Slide 7: • Slide 8: • Slide 9: • Slide 12: • Slide 14: • Slide 31: • Slide 32: • Slide 33: • Slide 34: • Slide 35: • Slide 36: http://del.icio.ous • Slide 39: • Slide 41: • Slide 42: • Slide 44: • Slide 45: • Slide 46: