According to the BBC, Jakob Nielsen claims that “Hype about Web 2.0 is making web firms neglect the basics of good design.” As you would expect, he makes some good points, but I’m not so sure about this bit:
“That was just bad,” he said. “The idea of community, user generated content and more dynamic web pages are not inherently bad in the same way, they should be secondary to the primary things sites should get right.”
“The main criticism or problem is that I do not think these things are as useful as the primary things,” he said.
Well-established patterns of user involvement with sites also led Mr Nielsen to question the sense of adopting Web 2.0 technologies.
Research suggests that users of a site split into three groups. One that regularly contributes (about 1%); a second that occasionally contributes (about 9%); and a majority who almost never contribute (90%).
By definition, said Mr Nielsen, only a small number of users are likely to make significant use of all the tools a site provides.
To my mind, one of the key things about “Web 2.0” – think Flickr, Twitter, Wikipedia etc, not just sites with AJAX and trendy colours – is that community and user generated content are at the heart of the site, not just an add-on. That means that those 1% who regularly contribute are absolutely central, and vital to the site’s success.