Project 4 – Task 1 -What is Web 2.0

For this project I need to research and analyse ONE of the following topics:
The Web 2.0 Phenomenon

  1. What is Web 2.0?: Look at and describe in a minimum of
    500 words an illustrated account of the design and technical
    properties of Web 2.0. A great source of Web 2.0 design
  2. Choose one Web 2.0 site and describe its appearance and functionality; ie. its online identity. Examples of Web 2.0 sites include;,,,,,,

Mobile technologies and the web

  1. Mobile websites (Note: NOT mobile Apps) have become more popular over the last couple of years. Describe at least 2 platforms for creating a mobile website eg online or through frameworks like jQuery Mobile and what usability and design considerations should be taken into account when designing websites for mobile.
  2. Research and analyse at least one mobile website and describe how it differs from its usual browser formatted version eg. Flickr mobile.

I’ve decided to do my research on Web 2.0 as I find it really interesting and think I could learn from all the design techniques I may come across

What is Web 2.0?

It is hard to get one sentence to describe what Web 2.0 really is. It seems opinion is divided by two descriptions:

  1. Web 2.0 is a dynamic website where people can interact with each other
  2. Web 2.0 is a designing style including but not limited to letterpress and embossing

I will further explain my interpretations of these two descriptions:

  1. Web 2.0 is a dynamic website where people can interact with each other

    From ""meme map" of Web 2.0 that was developed at a brainstorming session during FOO Camp, a conference at O'Reilly Media. It's very much a work in progress, but shows the many ideas that radiate out from the Web 2.0 core."

    This loosely defines websites that allow information sharing and collaboration on websites where where interaction is encouraged such as: social networking sites, blogs, wikis and video sharing sites. In contrast a non web 2.0 site is a website where users are limited to only viewing the content, not being able to interact, participate or collaborate with the owner or other users of the website.

    Web 2.0 is closely associated with Tim O’Reilly because of the O’Reilly Media Web 2.0 conference in late 2004 (Tim O’Reilly is the founder of O’Reilly Media that publishes books and Web sites and hosts conferences on computer technology and is highly regarded in the web designing/web developer world) where Tim O’Reilly mentioned Web 2.0 (see image of their brainstorming on the right).
    Although the term ‘Web 2.0’ suggests it is a new version of the previous ‘Web’, this is not actually what is meant, but more the changes in the way designers/developers and users use the Web.

    Information sources: Wikipedia and

  2. Web 2.0 is a designing style including but not limited to letterpress and embossing
    On the flip side, many people now refer to Web 2.0 when they mean the design, look and feel of a website. Many Web 2.0 sites do share a distinctive aesthetic, but apparently Web 2.0 in itself is a very fickle, ever-evolving definition of design standards. Countless examples of Web 2.0 sites have broken the rules of what was once considered strong design. On the other hand, in many cases Web 2.0 has strengthened common design misnomers; it places a focus on usability, interface, and readability.

    After reading many articles and tutorials on Web 2.0 Design, I found that one or more of the following techniques on your website, would make it ‘Web 2.0’:

    • Simplicity

    • Central layout

    • Fewer Columns

      Fewer columns

    • Seperate Top Section

    • Solid Areas of 'Real Estate'

    • Simple Navigation Menu

    • Bold Logo

    • Bigger Text

    • Bold Text Introduction

    • Strong Colours

    • Rich Surfaces

    • Gradients

    • Reflections

    • Cute Icons

    • Star Badges

    • Letterpress

    • Embossed 3D Buttons

However, just using one or several of the above styles does not make a website Web 2.0 necessarily. The overall effect must be subtle, simple, easy to navigate and be aesthetically pleasing in general.

Choose one Web 2.0 site and describe its appearance and functionality

I have chosen Giftrocket, which is a website that allows online gift card sending. You choose a business that you think the recipient would like, and deliver the gift by email, Facebook or as a printed card.

Here is a screenshot of the website:

The functionality

The functionality of GiftRocket’s website is very Web 2.0:

  1. You can send gifts via facebook
  2. You can ‘connect to facebook’ which means the GiftRocket app can post on your Wall/TimeLine
  3. They also have a blog, on which you can comment using facebook
  4. You are encouraged to contact them ‘to let them know what you think’

facebook comments on their blog

When you purchase a gift, it is very easy to find something in your area (it auto-detects where you are) and choose how you want to send the gift (facebook/email/post).


The appearance of GiftRocket’s website is definitely very Web 2.0.

The use of cute icons in their simple navigation

I can see they have used:

  • Simplicity
  • Central Layout
  • Fewer Columns
  • Solid Areas of Real Estate
  • Simple Navigation Menu
  • Bigger text WITH letterpress
  • Big letters using (a very subtle) letterpress effect

  • strong colours
  • cute icons (when hovered over their menu)

Quite a few!

All in, I think ‘GiftRocket’ is a very aesthetically pleasing website that is simple, subtle and easy to navigate where interaction is encouraged through social networking sites and their blog.
Therefore, using my own descriptions of Web 2.0 above, I think ‘GiftRocket’ is an excellent Web 2.0 website!

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