The Lightweight Heavyweight

Web 2.0 applications often thrive on being lightweight and with cost effective scalability solutions. As these types of characteristics allow for greater adaptability, faster speed to market and generally a rapid return on investment through a reduction in cost and time spent developing the application. Perfect examples of this include IMDb, which started off as nothing more than a single list of female actors and (with a little help from Amazon) grew much more than just an Internet Movie Database, or even imgur which (according to mediaite.com) only a year after its foundation was serving almost 20 million page views per month.

This is all fine and well for a simple application put together in a teenager’s bedroom that needs to see the light of day. But how does an organisation with an established product, customer base, expectant shareholders, security needs and expectations go about applying this “lightweight” web 2.0 pattern? Well in the case of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) the answer is simple. It doesn’t.

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The Long Tail of Leverage

Official_Fella_file_by_devart

The internet is filled with a myriad of websites who are all trying to sell something, whether it is art, books, music, movies, golf clubs or even garden gnomes. Some sell the majority of them on the one platform, like Amazon for example, whilst others specialise in one or a small selection like Deviant Art which is a platform for artists to display and even sell their own art. Chris Anderson, an editor of Wired, noticed that Amazon didn’t have a few “blockbuster” products, but rather that the majority of their sales were of a “Long Tail” of items and he has since gone further to say that “our economy and culture is shifting from mass markets to millions of niches”.

Deviant Art is one such niche Read More…

Perpetual Beta

AppstoreThe typical (or traditional) software development cycle considers beta as the final round of testing before releasing to the publisher and/or public. Tim O’Reilly suggests however, that rather than trying to get the most perfect bug free piece of software released, perhaps just getting it done and out is more valuable.

Done is better than Perfect.

Obviously this comes with a pretty hefty set of caveats. Your software has to be functional, intuitive and ultimately – useful! But enabling your users to contribute to the Quality Assurance process and provide feedback (either knowingly or not) can give you some incredibly valuable insight to how the software is used and how to improve it.

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More than just a Database

This week’s pattern as described by Tim O’Reilly is entitled “Software above the level of a single device”, which pretty much is a case of “it says what it does on the tin”. Describing that when designing an application that you design it for use on multiple platforms in mind the value of it is increased as its use can be extended to multiple contexts. At home on the computer, at home in front of the TV or even on the bus on the way to work, to name but a few examples.

IMDb

IMDb didn’t do this. In fact it started out as merely a list on UseNet in 1990 of female actors whom Col Needham described to have “Those Eyes”, as in beautiful. Nowadays however, after becoming a website in 1993 and being bought by Amazon in 1998, IMDb is a great deal more than just a database of the details of Movies, TV shows, actors and celebs. It can do all that whilst also giving you up to date info on what’s just been released, what’s showing near you, or watch trailers, rate and review movies as well as post on message boards and create “watch lists”. So while not immediately setting out to be a world class web2.0 platform, IMDb has grown and flourished into an application that has over 100 million unique users each month and a solid and rapidly growing mobile presence. Read More…

Rich User Experiences

Welcome back all and for those of you here for the first time a big hello to you too and thanks for visiting! As you may or may not know this week is the 4th in an 8 part series discussing and exploring the Web 2.0 Patterns of Success as described by Tim O’Reilly.

logo_Vimeo

This week’s pattern is “Rich User Experiences”, which can be succinctly described as providing users with web applications that extend beyond that of the single web page mentality and provide the types of experiences usually associated with desktop applications. For example, no longer is simply doing one action with your online content sufficient, if you want a truly successful web application in today’s online community, you need to provide something that lets users do much more than simply “consume”.  Why not let them interact, change and broadcast their own content? Vimeo is an online video application that allows you to do just this; you can watch, learn, upload, edit, sell, connect and subscribe to other users and their videos all whilst interacting through your own Vimeo profile.

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Foundations

blueprints

O’Reilly’s 3rd pattern is entitled “Innovation in Assembly”, and what is meant by this is the web is no longer viewed as large blocks of information presented as a single (or multiple) web page(s). But rather as small streams of information that can be mixed together and reused to form alternate perspectives and even newer sources of information. The theory being

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Spotification

Hi guys, welcome back to another week of Web 2.0 thrills and spills. This week we’re moving onto the 2nd pattern described by Mr O’Reilly – Data is the next “Intel Inside”, against which we will analyse Spotify.

spotify

For those of you unfamiliar with Spotify, it’s an audio streaming service that allows you to search and listen to just about any band, musician, composer, orchestra or comedian entirely for free. Read More…

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