Web 2.0 Design

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. 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.

"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."

In 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.

Web 2.0 has often been described as “the Web as platform,” and if we think about the Web as a platform for interacting with content, we begin to see how it impacts design. Imagine a bunch of stores of content provided by different parties—companies, individuals, governments—upon which we could build interfaces that combine the information in ways no single domain ever could.

The effects of Web 2.0 are far-reaching. Like all paradigm shifts, it affects the people who use it socially, culturally, and even politically. One of the most affected groups is the designers and developers who will be building it-not just because their technical skills will change, but also because they'll need to treat content as part of a unified whole, an ecosystem if you will, and not just an island.

To summarize, these are what we see as the six main themes covering design in the Web 2.0 world:

1. Writing semantic markup (transition to XML)

2. Providing Web services (moving away from place)

3. Remixing content (about when and what, not who or why)

4. Emergent navigation and relevance (users are in control)

5. Adding metadata over time (communities building social information)

6. Shift to programming (separation of structure and style)

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