When I first started building websites and blogs I toured a few content management systems that were all but ridiculous to figure out. Though, at the time there were a few out there that were simplified for the non-designer or non-developer, me being me, I needed something more robust and endlessly flexible. Joomla and Drupal were a couple I explored but both, especially Drupal, were just so incomprehensible. Of course, the modules, extensions, etc. gibberish make sense to me now, but back then, I was just as lost as the average person trying to learn either a new language or a new system. In fact, looking back on those maddening weeks of hyper-research, I realized now, with Web 3.0 looming and Web 2.0 in full throttle, that it’s often language that is a barrier in learning, using and adapting any new way of doing something or any new system, especially on the Internet which is still very new to many people. At least, the way many of us use it now. In this article I’ll attempt to break down common gibberish (lingo) used to explain simple concepts in this new age of the Internet and put them in context.
Web 2.0 – Web 1.0 didn’t exist. At least the term didn’t. Web 2.0 is a term that is simply used to describe a new version of the Internet and the new way the Internet is and/or should be used. If Web 1.0 term existed, it would be defined as static, user-unfriendly, and heavy on the text, light on interactivity. Web 2., on the other hand means you get to interact with web pages more. Rearrangeable elements on a web page, websites talking to each other and spewing out information on yours or another website, using a web browser like Firefox that displays pages and page elements better, safer and faster than Internet Explorer, being able to edit and comment on other people’s published content (wikis and blogs, for example), and more collaboration between website owners and web developers and programmers.
The best example I can give you for Web 2.0 versus Web 1.0 (the original Internet) is: Britannica Online (the original Internet) and Wikipedia.org (the new Internet; Web 2.0). The concept of Web 2.0 is the Web as a platform. A platform is a foundation on which things are built, arranged and rearranged. The whole idea of this new Internet is that we all get to participate in what we read, see and hear on the Internet far more than we ever had where as before, we were limited to what we saw and heard and were damn well not allowed to participate other than responding to and sending emails or purchasing products.
Wiki – Take a look at Wikipedia.org. What’s the difference between that an let’s say Britannica Online? You get to edit Wikipedia. You get to participate in the production and publication of facts. Wikipedia.org is a collaborative encyclopedia. Wiki’s are collaborative websites or applications. A wiki is software that allows registered users to not only create content, but edit and publish it as well.
User-friendly – This term is used so much, but it still has great meaning. Where as static pages of the old Internet were not user-friendly because site visitors could not change the way they could read the text or view the images, the new Internet is all about giving site visitors the opportunity to read and see content the way they wish (within reason). For example, a user-friendly website will let you click a link and make the text bigger or smaller, a user-friendly browser like Firefox allows you to hide images so you can concentrate on text, a use-friendly layout is optimized so that the most important and relevant information is found quickly and is highlighted in the most obvious ways rather than being hidden somewhere in the overall hierarchy of a website or blog. User-friendly means that the designer had the user in mind when designing the website, browser, etc., so that the user-experience is not cumbersome and is easy.
Usability – Usability is the same as user-friendly. It’s the term used to describe how easy (or not) something can be used. In regards to a website, it’s how simply (or not) a site visitor can find her way around the site.