Great article exodus. I've always thought of 'web 2.0' as a load of rubbish personally, it is one of those 'things' that aren't actually anything. Just a word that has a very abstract and vague meaning. Yes user preference and customisation has it's place but if a visitor can completely change the look and feel of your site then they have really just employed themselves free of charge as designers, your website becomes nothing more than a freeware wysiwyg editor.
I did a website for one of our customers (one of the ones we weren't charging to get this new web design service off the ground as a 'test', as they were already paying support), and about a month after it was finished, despite her signing off on the comp for approval, I got in the e-mail "Our site, although usable, is kinda boring. Any suggestions?"
Yeh that's the problem, a balance between usability and 'sexability' web 2.0 is generally boring. If users want something that requires so much customisation that they end up more or less making it then they really should be buying a copy of the sims.
But Web 2.0 has come to define a 'look'. A logo in liquid form with a forward thrown drop shadow comes to mind.
Boring, MySpace-esque stuff that can be tedious to navigate and has a certain program-induced cookie-cutter feel. Kinda like a lot of design these days.
i've still got web 1.0
i'm waiting for web 3.0 to come out before i upgrade.
You better hope you don't need to buy into web 2.0 to upgrade to 3.0!
Web 2.0 is so vague, but visually, it's usually a rip off of Apple's glossy logo and icons and the "wet floor" look. Even Microsoft did it with Vista's logo (can't they do ANYTHING original over there?!)
I assume the social networking thing is the big part of it, which I guess has helped people connect with others. Let's just not make it seem like it's only a few new sites allowing every teen to put some glittery garbage animated gif into their MySpace page, while playing some emo whiny pop song from a band no one will remember in 2010.
I think the most important part of Web 2.0 wasn't the fact that the sites looked the same, but allowed for user participation. YouTube, Digg, Flickr, and a bunch of other sites had user-generated content.
Research suggests that users of a site split into three groups. One that regularly contributes (about 1%); a second that occasionally contributes (about 9%); and a majority who almost never contribute (90%).
I don't think this rule is anything new. Back in when news groups and message boards were all the rage, the term "lurkers" was still valid for that 90% that almost never posted. I'd like to say that this criticism isn't really valid, because its rare that 90% of people ever contribute to anything. Couldn't these numbers also be used to explain political voting and charitiy contribuitions? The majority is almost always inactive.
Design-wise, I think Web 2.0 has turned a lot of designers onto clean design. It started with Apple and Mozilla, and just kind of spread all over the web. There is no doubt that clarity helps interface, but I wonder if its possible to have a messy look but still be organized. No doubt, Web 3.0 will have lots of fur and texture to denounce the smooth, glassy feeling of today's web sites.