The first thing to realise about Web 2.0, is that it is not an update on Web 1.0. This may sound a little strange, but it represents the introduction of concepts rather than an update of internet protocols utilised by HTTP. As a web designer, it is how you incorporate and utilise these concepts in your web design, that is important.
Web 2.0 was a term that was coined rather than developed, and in essence it describes how the web is being used by users, and developed by developers. To understand Web 2.0, we must look at Web 1.0.
Web 1.0 is the standard protocols as used in HTML, but if Web 2.0 relates to the new concepts the web is being developed for, then Web 1.0 must also be a concept by association, and the concept of Web 1.0 was information.
In the early years of the world wide web, and really up until a few years ago, the web was full of information sites. There was interaction, but it was still finding its feet. Video took as long as it did to make it to download, and sites that encouraged social networking or videos, were limited by internet connection speeds, and the fact that nobody had thought of them yet.
Wind the clock forward a few years and Web 2.0 is fully fledged. Concepts such as social-networking sites, video-sharing sites, wikis, blogs, and folksonomies, have become household names. These sites, have brought the web into a new phase, or second generation of development.
The official deffinition of Web 2.0 as stated on Wikipedia, is shown below:
“Web 2.0″ refers to a perceived second generation of web development and design, that facilitates communication, secure information sharing, interoperability, and collaboration on the World Wide Web. Web 2.0 concepts have led to the development and evolution of web-based communities, hosted services, and applications; such as social-networking sites, video-sharing sites, wikis, blogs, and folksonomies.”
A bit of a mouthful, but in essense it discribes the change in how the web is being used in differnent ways.
So if new concepts have been introduced to coin Web 2.0, therefore Web 2.0 must influence web design, and this is where you come in.
The old concept of supply and demand is always true, and the web is no exception and you as a designer, must adhere to it. That is not to say that you must incorporate all of these new concepts into your designs, but you should rather look at the whole concept in the design, and decide weather any of these new concepts can enhance the site.
In all probability, most sites you design will have at least a blog section, but sometimes adding a little in the design stage, can mean adding a lot at a later stage.
Perhaps it is the possibilities that have been opened through the development of the concept of Web 2.0, which is where you should think outside the box. Though some critisims of Web 2.0, is that it is actually just doing what the web was meant to do, it is also fair to say that these concepts are still evolving, and their potential is still yet to be realised.
This view will come to fruitition should Web 3.0 concepts not really take off. This will mean that Web 2.0 was little more than a buzz word. Should this happen though, the concepts of Web 2.0, will still live on and be developed.
As a web designer, working with Web 2.0 concepts, it is an exciting time, as web design is truly evolving, and utilising the concepts we have gained from Web 2.0