What's up with Web 2.0?

Let's create more interactive Web sites, just don't forget about the user and remember to keep it simple.

commentary What is Web 2.0 and why should you care?

There are many definitions being thrown about. Ask around, and you'll get answers like "blogs", "RSS", "rich graphical capabilities", "video and rich interaction", "interacting with voice commands".

To put it simply, the Internet industry is approaching "graduation" and looking ahead to identify new applications that will enhance the online user experience.

Companies like Microsoft and Google are introducing new tools and technologies that enable us to create more interactive Web sites and to collaborate more easily with one another when we're online.

These emerging technologies are part of the natural evolution of the Internet, where Web sites in the early days were largely brochureware and their content didn't change frequently. Today, blogs and community sites are the rage, because they turn Web surfers into active users.

But if the focus of Web 2.0 is on the online user and enhancing the user experience, then perhaps the focus of the next era should also be about making it simpler, easier, and faster. We seem to be piling on more features into everything, including mobile phones, computers and Web sites, without making it easier for the user to get to them. Give me a feature that doesn't require more than three clicks to get to it, or doesn't take me a whole afternoon to learn.

For businesses, Web 2.0 is relevant, because more people are going online, and there is no better time than now to use the Internet to engage their existing and potential customers, as well as business partners. What do you think?

Isabelle Chan is senior editor of ZDNet Asia.