It’s interesting seeing the web 2.0 discussion bifurcate. The technologists seem to feel that “Web 2.0 is about making websites machine readable so that content can squirt seamlessly between unrelated sites. Technologies like RSS, RESTian APIs, and XHTML/CSS are the core of Web 2.0.”
The designers are waking up and saying, “No! It’s about the improved experience!”
Considering the technologists got there first, this is one of the reasons that, in the back of my mind, I’ve been nervous talking about “Web 2.0” when I refer to the trends we’re seeing. My initial effort to label it something else (“designing for the sandbox“) understandably didn’t take root (it’s too opaque, and requires a concerted marketing effort).
It feels like the phrase “Web 2.0” is definitely here to stay. And with it, the challenge for designers to make technologists understand that Web 2.0 isn’t interesting because it makes “the Internet useful for computers,” (as Jeff Bezos said), but it’s interesting because it further empowers *users*. This is the underlying theme to Josh Porter and Richard McManus’ recent “Web 2.0 for Designers” piece.
And I think a way for the technologists and designers to hold hands is to go a level deeper and realize their shared philosophies. In June I wrote an essay for the Adaptive Path site on relinquishing control (and giving users the power to dictate their experiences). A month later, DeWitt Clinton, a software developer, wrote, “Web 2.0 is giving up control.” He then gets jiggy with acronyms (REST, SOAP, API, etc.) but, truly, we’re talking about the same thing.
I’m looking forward to the upcoming Web 2.0 conference as an opportunity to explicitly bridge these worlds. The challenge then being, how do we spread the word?