Web 2.0 failing to deliver

The amount of self proclaimed web 2.0 applications that are starting up is incredible, there are so many clammering into such a tiny space that it’s definitely a users market, but users beware, the use of the title is most often than not a con.

As long as a few irrelevant items are checked off then the application is labelled web 2.0 and thrown out there, without any regard for usability or features, in an incredibly raw and untested state, and locking the user into a small third party tool.

It seems that as long as your application looks ajax-y, offers some form of interactive drag and drop, has bright colours, carries a silly name and the all important so-called development blog, then you can win that all important monica. Notice that nowhere there is mentioned anything about user requirements.

Features are left to the developer to choose, and in many I’ve seen they even miss out such standard features as feeds, or the ability to customise the output, or even share it.

This is where I find the greatest umbridge with this whole movement. The applications developed do not allow the user to share them, or if it does they are limited to sharing within the community of application users, in their style and on their site. Where’s the 2.0 in that?

Where’s the thought of the users, their requirements and the all important collaboration and community that the modern web is all about…supposedly? The problem is these applications restrict and confine users into their systems on their sites with their web addresses and their design.

This has to stop. At the minimum every web 2.0 application needs to offer a suite of options for every facet of information that you store on their site, and this includes:

  • Feeds – both RSS and Atom
  • Modules – Javascript, ASP, include or similar that allows for the content from the site to be placed on your own
  • Stylesheet customisation – any content from the application that is diaplayed on the users site should allow for additional CLASS and I’D tags to customise their look and feel
  • Functionality – any functionality supplied by the application on the content that the user is displaying on their site should be available even when it is displayed outside the application

One of the largest problems with thi new trend of applications in this so called new 2.0 world is that they are closed systems. You have to sign up to the application and the third party system to view and interact with the content. Doesn’t that defeat the main purpose?

All these applications are sitting across the Internet, Intranet and on individual computers in their own little cordoned off area, not meeting, touching or interacting with each other.

As a user I should be able to pick and choose which I want and pull then together to make my system, my central hub of all knowledge and content that is me, and use that to compliment my site.

Right now though I have ten to twenty separate sign ons for different sites all over, and only three of them pulled into my own content online. One through an HTML connection, one through an RSS feed pulled through a third party web installed aggregator, and one through a simple javascript.

I think it would be great if the users of this 2.0 movement got together and created a simple set of standards for definition of what makes a 2.0 application. Then offer an accredited stamp for every one that meets them.

That would be so much better than the style (face over feature) over substance that dominates the 2.0 world of today.

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