Friday, March 31, 2006

The audience you haven't reached yet

Michael Calore at Wired says:
There's still a fundamental disconnect between people who use the web and people who use the web 2.0.

The perceived importance and revolutionary aims of most web 2.0 apps are lost on the vast majority of web surfers. That doesn't make those people less smart, less hip, or less important than your more savvy users, it just makes them an audience you haven't reached yet.

Most people in web 1.0 land (a.k.a. the "Rest of the World") would expect your site to behave just like familiar destinations like Ebay and Amazon. People respond to familiar interfaces and functions. Throwing them a curveball will most likely result in confusion.
Excellent advice.

See also my previous post, "The mainstream and saving people time".


Anonymous said...

For clarification, what sort of "unfamiliar" web 2.0 interfaces and functions have you seen, as opposed to what sort of "familiar" interfaces? Is the ability in google maps to click and drag the map around familiar or unfamiliar? What about Amazon's new wishlist menu fades?

And what is the difference between "unfamiliar", and "simply poor design"? Is "good design, but unfamiliar" worse than "poor design, but familiar"?

Could you give a few examples of things you feel strongly about?

Anonymous said...

What if, instead, "web 1.0" users understand the "web 2.0" sites just fine, and simply aren't impressed. What if, like all the new features in MS Word, web 1.0 users believe the additional value they'd get out of using a web 2.0 site is outweighed by the cost (time, money, etc.) of using those sites. Basically, what seems "revolutionary" to some may just be "neat" or even "lame" to others.

As the Nicholas Carr article you recently quoted points out, "real life isn't that complicated". Most adults don't have any interest in spending time (and certainly not paying) to see the 43 things other people are doing that are similar to them. Most adults don't spend their time moderating comments to get them to the front of digg. Most adults don't care to endlessly surf and tag photo collections on flikr.

I'm not saying there's no use to web 2.0 sites, or advanced features on amazon (or in MS Word, even). Just that not everyone is going to inspire a world-changing global revolution in human behavior.

On the other hand, it's highly probable that one or more of the web 2.0 services will turn out to be next "iPod", "Tivo" or "Netflix". We just can't tell which one yet. For exmaple, I'm sure one of the "new ways to read news" applications (Findory, RSS readers, Digg, etc.") will eventually "stick" and largely replace the "go to one site at a time for news" model. But the other 90% will disappear.

Anonymous said...

When you have a hammer such as AJAX, everything looks like a nail. It just takes a little while for someone to find a nail worth hitting with the new hammer :-)