The term Web 2.0 does not refer to any technical updates in the web, but rather a cumulative change in the way both software developers and eventual consumers use the internet. This term can apply to any web design or web application that has a focus on user-generated content and collaboration between users in a dialogue mediated through social media.:)
The term was first used to describe a new aesthetic in web design, related to the fragmenting of internet sources. Throughout the 2000s the way we access the web has changed drastically from a static viewing of pages on a computer screen, to the widespread use of touch-screen smartphones and tablets. As such, web designers have had to learn to design with a variety of eventual viewing modes in mind.
The ethos of Web 2.0 is more complex than just embracing new forms of viewing websites, however. A Web 2.0 website design allows users to add content to the website and encourages participation at all levels. Web 2.0 can also be called the ‘participatory web,’ whereas Web 1.0 would be called the ‘web as information source.’ This web design offers all users the same amount of freedom, offering collaboration and shared intelligence, along with the less desirable effect of ‘spamming’ and ‘trolling,’ generally manifesting in the dumping of unwanted information on a website, by some users.
The term Web 2.0 is also used by some to describe the current most popular style for website design. This style includes elements such as simple layout with a centred orientation to the page, the economical use of strong colour, cute or visually clever icons and three-dimensional effects, as well as the use of soft neutral colours, the advantageous use of white space and comfortably large text. This style is user-focused, in that it presents information to the user in the most easily accessible way, and the stylistic principles of Web 2.0 could be adopted for use by any web design.
Ideally, a Web 2.0 website design should incorporate both these clean and fresh design principles with increased user interactivity. This includes the sharing of information between websites, which can be as simple as installing the Facebook ‘like’ plugin to easily publish links of your website to a larger audience, or incorporating a syndicated blog in your web design. These methods both encourage active user response to your website and your business and contribute to the ‘web as a platform.’