Ultimate web 2.0 site, so far

It might be all flash and take ages to load but look at this excellent site. It’s like wefeelfine.org x 100: http://timecapsule.yahoo.com/capsule.php.

Yahoo Time Capsule graphic

A few people have pointed out that it doesn’t do what “normal” (and by “normal”, I think we all mean “Blue Peter”) time capsules do, it’s not full of pictures of old, out of date Walkmans and pictures of the queen. Time for another capsule, with some different tags I think.

.com-o-metrics

(Transfered from Blogger / Typepad)

If there’s a sure fire sign that the bubble is building again, it’s the resurfacing of .com-era economics projections.These economic ‘models’ work something like this:

Let’s assume there are 1bn internet users world wide. Let’s say 0.005% of those people might be interested in my new $10 train spotting kit. Therefore, using nothing more than my pocket calculator, I can prove that my train spotting kit
website is worth $50m. That’s a profit of $25m. Mum, I’m a millionaire.

There’s three rather major flaws with this reasoning unfortunately, although none of these have had much of an impact on slowing down the use of the formula.

  1. Cost of sale. While selling online is cheaper than building a store or a distribution network, it is not free and neither is marketing. It costs as much money to build a brand online as it does to build it offline
  2. Captive market. The web makes connection with your buyer easy, but it does the same with the billion other products competing for your audiences $10. The web provides the framework for perfect competition. If you’re making a super-normal profit other train-spotting kit manufacturers will come in and compete with you.
  3. The internet is task based. While people might occassionally be distracted by online advertising, they are typically busy doing other things, not considering the train-spotters kit.

So the reality of the sum is easy. 1 bn x 0 = 0.

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.