The über-trendy “Web-2.0” paradigm seems to be floating quite comfortably throughout the blogosphere these days. In fact, with it’s current mainstream popularity, the Web-2.0 mentality enjoys de facto status as the dominating influence behind modern website development and design. Not too long ago, however, Web-2.0 hovered quietly amidst the thinking of cutting-edge entrepreneurs and developers, as they strove toward freshness, simplicity, and usability.
Before it’s rise to media fame, Web 2.0 was merely a loosely defined set of concepts and ideals. As the concept materialized, representative sites emerged, and the Web-2.0 design aesthetic evolved into an easily recognizable collection of stylistic elements, minimalistic interfaces, and dynamically interactive functionality. Indeed, now that Web 2.0 has hit it’s stride, its characteristics are well defined and apparent to even the most casual observations.
For example, popular Web-2.0 sites such as Flickr and Twitter clearly demonstrate the fundamental stylistic trends of the Web-2.0 design aesthetic. Of course, this rhetoric is merely meant as an exercise in expository writing. So don’t take it too seriously. I realize that conceptually defining Web 2.0 is theoretically impossible and claim no authority on the subject. Having said that, here is an “inside look” into the typical design aspects commonly employed at Web-2.0-ish websites.
- Simplicity in functionality and behavior
- Simplicity in communication and content
- Simplicity in layout and design
Typical Layout Features
- Centralized layout with distinct banner area
- Minimalistic overall presentation
- Clearly defined page regions
- Simple, easy navigation
- Oversize buttons
Typical Text Properties
- Oversize paragraph text and captions
- Oversize logos and headline text
- Bold featured and caption text
- Easy to understand language
Typical Design Elements
- Simple, minimalistic color schemes
- Bright, contrasting colors
- Icons for everything
- Texturized surfaces
- Reflective surfaces
- Subtle gradients
Unfortunately, as with all popular trends, “Web 2.0” will eventually fade away as the next popular web paradigm rises to the surface. Here is a good indicator that a fashionable trend will begin to take a nosedive: the idea has become so absolutely defined that its continued evolution becomes impossible. And of course, another telltale sign that Web 2.0 is going extinct is that people are already talking about its replacement, which is unsurprisingly dubbed “Web 3.0”. Can anyone guess what might come next?