Let's skip Web 2.0 and go straight to Web 3.0

In the best A List Apart article in years, Jeffrey Zeldman talks about the buzzwording and exploitation of the Web by people who don't get it. Web 3.0 is a brilliant piece that you must read right away.

I am delighted that I am not alone in being fed up with the hype and the buzzwords that are mentioned too often, in too many places, by too many people who do not know what they are saying and do not care about making the web better. All they care about is publicity and money.

And we, the web professionals, are of course eager to get our share of that money. Greed and lust for fame is making us care less about creating and providing good value to the people who visit the sites we build. We care less about the fundamentals, like accessibility and usability. Sometimes we try to fool ourselves that those extra features and animations are there to enhance usability.

After all, isn't what all that Ajax goodness (say that when you're around me and afterwards I may help you pick your teeth up from the floor) is about, right? Right? Sure, we now require JavaScript and only accept visitors who use certain browsers, but that's how we did it before the previous bubble burst anyway, so who cares, we can do it again.

No page reloads, man! Who cares that visitors can't bookmark pages or send URLs to their friends, or that search engines can't spider our content. No page reloads! It's pretty, it moves, it's cool baby, so it's got to be usable! Who cares about usability anyway, as long as it's cool and what the clients want. And it may get us some attention, money, or both.

The previous couple of paragraphs are an exaggeration. There are obviously those who do things the right way and use the technologies hidden behind the buzzwords to create really good websites. The point I'm making is that we shouldn't let ourselves be blinded by hype and buzzwords. It's so easy to fall into that trap.

The advances of standards based web development and the increased awareness of usability and accessibility during the last few years have made it slightly less embarassing to tell somebody you are a web designer or web developer. But only slightly. Let's not bring back that post dotcom-crash look of pure disgust that letting somebody know your line of profession used to put on people's faces.

Posted on February 15, 2006 in Usability