One more definition of Web 2.0

It’s been a topic of endless discussion and confusion, so I’m settling on my own one sentence definition of Web 2.0:

“Web 2.0 is the set of technologies and platforms that enable the delivery to multiple mediums of constantly updated rich internet applications, amplified by the collaborative nature of online networks and new forms of publishing.”

I’m focusing on the resources point of view, since without them no innovation would be possible.
web20wikipedia
Or maybe i’ll try a even shorter version: “It’s a bunch of neo-geeks with DSL, sharing a lot of fun stuff”.

Music for the Internet generation

It’s no wonder that music chains like Tower Records are closing, when the Internet is changing the guts of the music industry. Take for the example a band called The Bastard Fairies, that just got a worldwide recognition thanks to a video on YouTube.

[youtube]k8x14cLGh5o[/youtube]

The Coolest 8 Year Old In The World Talks About O’Reilly
link to YouTube: http://youtube.com/watch?v=k8x14cLGh5o

After the video was released, millions of bloggers and YouTube fans started the buzz and the hits on the band’s website were on record peak. Then it came the “Internet Generation” attitude, offering as a free download the whole album – free as in no questions asked – as a mean of promotion.

This reminds me of the new Web 2.0 motto, as stated by Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google: “Don’t fight the Internet“. Instead of patronizing users with their RIAA endorsement, new bands are understanding the power of the web to create their own long tail.

The Bastard Fairies

The sheer amount of myspace profiles for music artists is a living proof that record labels are loosing the battle. When a new mp3.com (or a sort of MusicPedia or YouTunes) comes along and takes their place as the nr1 source of music, establishing a culture of participation and responsible sharing, maybe they get serious about rethinking their business model and start concerning a bit more about the bands and the fans.

* P.S.: it sure helps having great songs and beautiful photos of the lead singer!

Senior boomers

Young @ Heart

If someone told you about a Chorus called Young at Heart, you would have thought of some 18 year old group of kids that gather around the weekend. And if i told you they performed some contemporary themes from the Beatles to Peter Gabriel you’d probably be even more sure.

But what if you surfed to their website? Then you’d better guess again !

Young @ Heart

Young @ Heart Chorus has in their lines people with ages ranging from 72 to 93, with shows all over the USA, with great reviews and feature articles in The Guardian and Time magazine.

Senior citizens are no longer the bystanders in modern society, and are now taking an important role in society and shaping cultural trends.

Marketing for the future generation

With the aging populations in Europe and America, marketing should be prepared for the growing market segment with an increasing purchasing power and influence in buying behaviors.

IPew Internet & American Life Project - Seniors and the Internet

© The Pew Internet & American Life Project
The demographic trends are clear and the usual marketing focus on the 18-24 age group might be under scrutiny. According to SeniorNet, almost half of the seniors 50 and older used the Internet for 5 years or more, with a great part being over 65. In another study it’s shown that while many seniors today don’t go online that often, that is about to change as the “baby-boomers” generation reaches the age of 65 and older.
(link to SeniorNet report, PDF 184Kb)
(link to Pew Internet Report, PDF 21Kb)

Most of the senior citizens found on the internet a way to reeducate themselves and keep in touch with friends and family. They probably also spent a great effort and/or money in learning how to use information technology. Now that they’re acquainted with new medium, “wired seniors” have a lot of time available to be online and are active purchasers, so it makes all the sense to consider this target in any online marketing mix.

With a special interest in this target is the Health sector, with the challenge of getting their message right in the online channel and at the same time trying not being mistaken with spam. From prescriptions to diseases or even in the fitness sector, online marketing is getting more important in comparison with the traditional below-the-line marketing employed to senior citizens.

Yahoo Health

[http://health.yahoo.com/]

Implications for online advertising

“Wired seniors” use the internet mainly for email, so consider an approach through newsletters subscriptions and email alerts, with clear concerns on privacy, as these citizens seem much more aware of the importance of online security and are more suspicious when providing personal data.

Another implication on online advertising is the concern for accessibility, with great efforts to increase readibility, color blindness and support for aural devices. Much of today’s Web 2.0 design trends seems to have that already in mind, implementing valid XHTML markup that is a first step to conform to 508 accessibility guidelines.

It’s clear that many of online users feel they’re not being targeted, with online advertising clearly shaped to 14-17 year-old segment. Innovation doesn’t have to relate only to young people and if companies offer solutions and products to older users, they could create a competitive advantage as online population gets older.

Flash Player 9 for Linux

I almost forgot to announce the beta release of the Flash Player 9 for Linux, since i do most of my posts on Windows. Obviously I’m writing this one from my laptop running Ubuntu.
So, if you’re a Linux fan, get the version 9,0,21,55 as an installer or standalone player.

“Penguin Flash Developers” can finally browse the inspirational websites made for Flash Player 8 plugin +.
The regular Linux user should expect a final distribution in November, with the current version only available in English and placed on the user’s plugins directory.
via PenguinSWF

Internet Explorer 7: If it is broke, why haven’t you fixed it ?

ie7

[tag]Microsoft[/tag] sent me an email (see transcript at the end of this post) letting me know that Web sites, extensions, and applications shoud be compatible with Internet Explorer 7.
Well, that’s all beautiful, but instead of the climate of FUD, maybe MS should consider implementing real CSS2 support and compliance with W3C standards.

I wonder what clients think about paying support so their sites work with the new IE7 ?

For us, poor mortal web developers, a few headaches are coming:

  • New user-agent string, so you should consider updating those browser detection scripts;
  • [tag]CSS[/tag] hacks for older IE versions are unpredictable. MS instead “recommends” their proprietary model of conditional comments;
  • Garbage code that MS applications (appolo, ASP.net, Word) spit out.
  • You still have to support for quite a while those older IE versions. Less fun, more work.
  • Lazy ” webmasters” will keep their old bad habits. Valid [tag]XHTML[/tag] is still a mirage.

But not all are bad news. In fact, some improvements are on the way:

  • Full PNG support. At last !
  • Some famous bugs no longer present (Peekaboo, Guillotine, 3 Pixel Text Jog, etc)
  • width:auto, percentages are expected to behave normally.
  • pseudo classes (:hover) in any element are now supported.
  • support for ABBR tag

Continue reading Internet Explorer 7: If it is broke, why haven’t you fixed it ?

Who framed the website?

I realised that designers love frames. They use it everywere. In hotsites, e-commerce, portfolios or annual reports websites. My guess is that they love the idea of a design fitting in that narrow square space, just like they get in their print jobs.

But they have to let go. Think big. Go vertical. Discover the page there is below the fold.
And, as a rule of thumb, avoid frames.

Here’s my own list of reasons:

  • Low performance on search engines
  • Browser and Accessibility Problems
  • Copyright issues
  • Wrong Bookmarking
  • Complex navigation
  • Poor hyperlinking
  • Page reloading issues
  • Printing problems
  • Screen sizes

Continue reading Who framed the website?