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What is Web 2.0? - Part 1

by Lynn Eriksen 

You may have heard the mysterious term “Web 2.0” used in certain corners of the internet. People often discuss Web 2.0 as being a “revolutionary” trend or a “don’t miss out” opportunity. But very rarely do people supply Web 2.0 with a concrete meaning, or explain how it differs from “Web 1.0”. Many people have written off “Web 2.0” as a buzz word that does not have a clear meaning. However, there are many important concepts and technologies that Web 2.0 is often applied to. Part 1 of this article this we will cover some of these concepts and technologies in brief.�

What is 'Web 2.0'?

The term 'Web 2.0' is often applied to web sites that are focused on allowing visitors to collaborate and product results in creative ways rather than to merely inform. Often times there is a large focus on building community as well as providing a customizable experience for the visitor. Additionally, many of these web sites use state-of-the-art techniques in design and functionality.

Web 2.0 Concepts

There are several concepts that Web 2.0 web sites implement. Here are several of the core concepts:

  • User-centric Experience
    Many Web 2.0 web sites allow for users to create their own content and/or data to help grow the community or drive their business model. Some web sites allow for content creation as the basis for creating an advertising platform, where as other sites allow for setting preferences and/or saving and sharing product collections as a means to promote sales.

  • Online Collaboration
    Creating content or doing business on the web allows people to interact with you and each other from anywhere. Collaboration can be as simple as allowing for reader feedback via comments, or as complicated as allowing for a sales force to share notes in a private meeting space.

  • Simple Content Sharing
    Knowledge was once considered power, but in the internet era it is a business card. Sharing your information helps build credibility in communicating your ideas or promoting your business. Making it easy for visitors to get your content it their convenience is critical.

  • Powerful User Experience
    Web 2.0 web sites usually combine aesthetically pleasing graphics, simple page layout and navigation, and rich interactivity that can rival desktop applications. Empowering users to collaborate and/or solve business problems with ease can help you organization or business stand out from the crowd.

It is no longer enough to tell visitors about your self. Help them to get involved and/or get their job done and they will keep coming back.

Web 2.0 Technologies

Making the core concepts real is where the technologies come in place. Here are a few of the core technologies that are driving Web 2.0 web sites.

  • Web Feeds
    RSS (Really Simple Syndication) and other similar technologies allow for a web site to share its contents with visitors, search engines and other web sites using a standardized data model. Web feeds are emerging as a powerful alternative to e-mail to keep visitors aware of what is new in your organization or business.

  • Web Services
    Web Services allow multiple web sites to share data easily over the internet allowing them to work together more easily than they have in the past. Many leading web sites use data from a number of other web sites to create unique user experiences.

  • AJAX Interactivity
    Web applications using AJAX programming techniques feature rich interactivity that can rival desktop applications by leveraging advanced programming features found in most leading browsers. Though expensive to build in the recent past, creating ajax web sites has become very affordable in the past year.

  • Advanced Layout and Media
    Use of CSS for advanced layout, Flash for audio,video and/or animations, along with other emerging technologies can help create a more attractive, engaging web sites. Careful use of these technologies can be the deciding factor for a visitor in starting up a conversation, buying your product, or using your service.

The better experience a visitor has working with your web site the more likely they are to send you an e-mail or make a phone call, and recommend you to others. Having a unique, we thought out user experience can make a big difference in making a lasting impression.

In Part 2 of this article we will review a view examples of site using Web 2.0 concepts and technologies, and share a few ideas of what you do for your web site.


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