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Wed, 27 Jun 2007 09:20:16 -0400
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Couple of comments:

Web 2.0 versus Win/Mac applications. I think the biggest difference is the 
requirement for a network. These applications are never just about me and 
my computer, they always assume and require that the PC be connected to a 
network, and that others will be using the same applications. So the word 
processor becomes a collaborative tool. We have presence awareness to 
allow for virtual teaming. And so on. You might be interested in the 
debate between Tom Davenport and Andrew McAfee from the Enterprise 2.0 
conference that covered this same concept. In general, I agree with you. 
This is all nothing new under the sun, and really only represents another 
step along the path of the vision articulated at MIT labs in the 60's. 

Why do we care that a particular link becomes more popular because it was 
featured on a "most popular" list? It is not like the unpopular links 
feelings get hurt. This only matters if the ONLY way, or the most likely 
way to get to a site, resource, what have you is via the "most popular" 
list. And it only matters if the most popular is not time limited. We are 
considering a most popular feature on our intranet portal and to try and 
mitigate the "always the same list" we are using a time of last month. So 
if a site is on the list, but less than useful, it should drop off in two 

Tags are not a replacement for a taxonomy, they are an adjunct to the 
taxonomy and are focused on my need to find my stuff, or stuff I found 
before. Any use that you get from my tags is secondary. We tend to forget 
that because there are some interesting things that happen once 50 or so 
people tag a site. The tags start to be useful indications of what the 
site, photo, etcetera is about. 


Hal Shubin <[log in to unmask]> 
Sent by: "ACM SIGCHI WWW Human Factors (Open Discussion)" 
<[log in to unmask]>
06/26/2007 02:20 PM
Please respond to
Hal Shubin <[log in to unmask]>

[log in to unmask]

Thoughts about Web 2.0

I was at the Boston area UPA mini-conference recently (which featured 
many Web 2.0 talks), and I have a client who wants to make a current 
project as Web 2.0 as possible. So I've been thinking about the topic a 

Some random thoughts for discussion if anyone's up for it. (This 
feels like one of those rambling rants that newspaper columnists 
write when they run out of real topics. Now I see why they do it.)

1. Web 2.0 design
A couple of people defined Web 2.0 at the UPA conference (for now, 
you could read Tim O'Reilly's description at
or talked about how it's changing Web design. My thought was that, 
for all of us greybeards who've been around since before the Web, 
it's as if we can ignore the last 10 years of limited capabilities. 
Web 2.0 lets us provide better user experiences, but it's like going 
back to what we were doing on Windows/Mac platforms. The user doesn't 
know/care what the technology is, and Web 2.0 gives us more of the 
flexibility that we had pre-Web.

As O'Reilly wrote, "We're entering an unprecedented period of user 
interface innovation, as web developers are finally able to build web 
applications as rich as local PC-based applications." I'm not sure 
I'd call it "user interface innovation" exactly. It's innovative if 
you compare it to last year's Web applications more so than if you 
compare it to last decade's Windows apps.

I'm not saying that Web 2.0 is a bad thing; as a Web designer, I'm 
glad to have the flexibility back. It's just not a completely *new* thing.

2. Most popular.
What do you think about having "Most popular <whatever>" categories? 
It's a nice way to see what the crowd likes. But, it's makes the 
popular things be more popular (hmmm, like junior high school 
somehow). Maybe it'd be better to draw from a large or rotating pool 
of popular things so that more kids (er, links) get to be popular.

3. Tags.
Can tags (user-generated taxonomies) replace a pre-defined taxonomy? 
Maybe my problem isn't with the idea of tags, but just that we need 
some new ways to use them. My example: When I'm writing personas for 
clients, I look for photos at I can use tags to do some 
searching, but it's a very simple search. What I really want to do is 
search for "woman professional computer" to find a well-dressed woman 
sitting at a computer in a office. But tags don't do that.

Tags are simple search -- the system is suggesting a series of 
simple, one-term pre-defined searches. I want an advanced search with 
tags. It could be a pre-defined search, but I haven't seen any 
multiple-term clouds yet.

  -- hs

--  --  --  --  --
Hal Shubin
617 489 6595

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