2.0

If any one thing has convinced me to get started with this journal; this blog, it is the number of meetings I’ve been in recently where I hear about Web 2.0 and hear that term expanded to cover a whole range of things it wasn’t really intended for. As you’d expect (and in a potentially self-referential way), the best single definition of the term I can find is on Wikipedia. The term was coined as a name for a series of conferences about new, better and more standards-compliant development practices for websites.

Obviously, it’s fair enough that terms evolve, but a great deal of weight appears to be being lumped on poor 2.0’s shoulders, making it the single organising thought beind social networking (and its commercial application: “PR 2.0”! or the flat-spin it has put so many ad agencies in: “Marketing 2.0”), new online commercial models, folksonomies (the ugliest bit of naming ever) and the rest.

While we’re at it. Isn’t there a more appropriate extension for Web 2.0: the open realisation that success on the internet is all about usable interfaces? When users use sites – especially complicated ones – they must either recognise the interface from another experience, they must understand it from another world, or they must be able to learn it quickly. The traditional approach to web development (aka “design and build”) is wrong. The first thing we must do is tie up user requirement and site requirement and think through how they can both be accomplished – then we can start discovering what colour it should be and how big the logo must be.

As someone with a background in development, the hallmarks of 2.0, specifically Ajax and depth standards integration, are fascinating and I want to dig into those too. To track those trends. I’m intigued by the conflicing forces of stable interface – currently being solved in Flash and Ajax – against accessibility, simplicity and browser stability.

Further than that, I’m intrigued by the strategies we take in website (and website content) development to ensure sites are as suitable for search engines as they are for real people. Sooner or later this will meant the same thing of course (!). I want to make sure we do keep developing the focus on development and information architecture standards we appear to have recently achieved.

Please feel free to let me know when I’m missing the point, mis-representing the point or mistreating it.

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