Social Internet has become a new way of communicating, learning.
Wikipedia, Myspace, Forums, Blogs, RSS … all these words form and represent a new way of using the Internet, and has come to be known as Web 2.0. The web is no longer just about finding information, but also having the ability to influence it from a social perspective. Web 1.0 was about reading, advertising, companies, encyclopedias, home pages, and taxonomy. While Web 2.0 is about opinion, writing, word of mouth, communities, wikipedias, blogs, and folksonomy.
|Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons|
As we take on this new way of learning and communicating, how does it affect the user’s experience? How can Web 2.0 be used to help make the experience a better one? As so many discussions about Web 2.0 focus on the technology and methods, it is often forgotten the most important part, usability, the experience of the user.
Web 2.0 has brought technologies that can be used to create a more interactive and better experience for the customer. Some of the technologies that have been developed include RSS (Really Simple Syndication) and Ajax.
Ajax is a web technique that makes pages feel more responsive, making pages more functional and faster. Every time a user makes a change, the entire web page does not have to reload. RSS is a format of web feed that quickly uploads frequently updated data on web pages, such as blogs. Both of these technologies are a great way to make a user’s experience easier and better.
While the technologies that have come with Web 2.0 have brought more user friendly features to the web, are we using them to make our customers happier? Below are a few ways to use Web 2.0 for usability improvements, understand basic ideas of Web 2.0 and its usability benefits.
Examples of how to improve the user experience:
- Use blogging to solve customer support problems
- More communication throughout a company with blogs
- A more natural instinctive interface for people to use with Ajax
- A comments page for authentic service/product ratings
- A lodging site with a blog attached giving local visitor information, a community resource with reviews and pictures
Web 2.0 Themes:
- Mash-up (Web Application Hybrid) – using a third party’s code/content while sharing your own to combine and create a new integrated web service (example: Google Maps)
- Tagging – allowing users to tag creates categorized context rich sites (example: del.icio.us)
- User Content – users ability to comment, rate, add content, photos, or videos (example: Trip Advisor)
- Improved Online Service with Increased Competition
- Increased Satisfaction with User Friendly Interfaces
- Increased Credibility & Trust of Organizations
- Increased Understanding of User Needs
- Increased Problem Solving
- Increased Success from Shared Knowledge
- Increased Content and Usefulness
Using these benefits of Web 2.0 and applying them to your own products and services will offer the most current trends.