Web 2.0: My web, your web, our web!

Another post inspired by SitePoint today, and a thread discussing what the term Web 2.0really means. This debate caught my attention so much that I felt like writing about it for myself. Throughout the thread it was more or less established that the term is really nothing but a catchy buzz-word, but the essence of it is the future of the web and which direction it will be going in. Since I don’t have supernatural abilities which I can use to foresee the future, I unfortunately can’t tell you what Web 2.0 will actually end up becoming. But fear not, I am filled with the second-best thing, which are of course guesses, and lots of them.

The people discussing in the thread had a lot of personal opinions about what Web 2.0 really is, and from that we can draw that the conclusion that it hasn’t been set in stone just yet, and I guess that it won’t be until Web 3.0 is on the horizon. There were however a lot of common denominators in peoples answers, some of which I agree very much with, and I’ll try and dive into a few of the things that I feel will define the next generationof the web.

Interactivity. Yes, you heard me, interactivity will probably shape the web more than ever in the future. And that’s saying something, since it has never been easier to have your say online than it has since the turn of the millennium. But we’re reaching new heights of online interactivity these days, and blogs are a better example of that anything else. In order to make your contribution to the internet, you don’t need any computer skills beyond opening up your browser and surfing around the web, and it will only become easier and more widespread in the years to come. Wikipedia is a perfect example of this, and I am 100% certain that websites where users help and contribute to the content will eventually become the main source of information for most subjects as the years go by. It’s far more effective than a limited team of writers could ever become, and all you’d ever need to put authority into would be supervising everything. That could prove to be quite a task in some cases, but the result will still be favourable for the user.

Clean Coding. Here’s something you’ll have a hard time getting parents around the world to believe, but it’s actually becoming a trend to follow the rules. Well, when it comes to coding websites anyways. More and more people are getting increasingly aware of the advantages of creating semantically correct websites when it comes to HTML and CSS, and that’s something which is of course a good thing for the ordinary Joes and Janes out there, because it means increased usability and more support for a bigger spectrum of browsers. Of course Microsoft hasn’t caught up on this trend yet, as shown by their new Windows Vista website. But hopefully they’ll get there as well, and maybe we can eventually get a browser from them which supports the standards too.

Design Changes. Lately we’ve also seen a slow but steady shift in the designs that are turning trendy. It seems that we’re moving from the glossy-techno look, towards cleaner, simpler, more and effective and tasty designs ala this one. Of course those are both “extreme” examples of the two different looks, but it definately seems that the simple and less image dependant designs are being preferred over the heavy flashy stuff. This is in my opinion very good, because it turns the focus towards organization and usability. Plus the glossy-techno look really is getting old.

As if that wasn’t enough, I have also noticed that a lesser and lesser share of websites are falling into the category that I myself would determine as ugly. So it’s a win-win situation, we’re getting less of the overly cool and flashy websites, and less of the horribly designed sites, and more and more sites that are pleasing to the eye, and simple to navigate and find your way through.

Well that’s more or less what I would determine as Web 2.0. Can we draw a conclusion from all of this? Well the headline already gave it away. I believe that the web will and already is becoming both more user friendly and dependant. It will finally really become our web! Am I right? Only the future can tell, and if you want to see for yourself you’ll have to stick aorund- I know I will!

Do you agree, disagree, or have something to say for yourself about the future of the web? Don’t hesitate to use the fully Web 2.0 compliant commenting feature found right below.


Update 4 July 2024: As I was porting this post over from the Internet Archive, I noticed that “Pete” had left the following comment a couple of weeks after I published the post:

To me web2.o means giving away your data freely to any third party that will let you or anybody else use it. 

Will we ever get a stage where people realise their own data, be it photos, blog postings or favourite links have value and start charging these sites for it’s use? I doubt it but it would be an interesting turn of events if they did ;)

Pete, 23 March, 2006

Safe to say Pete was tad bit more insightful than yours truly with regard to the realities of the dream that was “Web 2.0”.


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