@media2006 Notes: Jeffrey Veen: Designing the Next Generation of Web Apps

The following are my panel notes from @media2006. As I am not the fastest typer I have paraphrased what was said. Should you notice any mistakes please do point them out in the comments for corrections.

Jeffrey Veen
Designing the Next Generation of Web Apps

Worked at Hotewired then started adaptive path and created measure map and now I work for Google.

Web 2.0: In SFrancsico at a cocktail party, using the term Web 2.0 people roll their eyes. We are seeing the same boom as before and things are following the same trends.

I'm going to look at the boom and bust cycle and look at how things are happening today.

Someone in Silicon valley was asked What is web 2.0?

The ability to scale to many users
Better use of bandwidth
Rss feeds

Tulip boom changed the trade practices in western Europe. The steam engine changed everything. Henry ford's cars changed the world people got rich and a whole load of people got caught out in a bust.

The 1920's depression. Even tokyo the boom and bust of the 80's

1999 five pet stores went public and none of them exist today. It was a tough time it was impossible to get a moving van as everyone is leaving.

Cartoon showing the boom and bust of the internet with trees growing being burnt down and growing up again over time.

Event web 2.0 startups are beginning to close.

Web 2.0
Slide of Tim o'Reilly's meme map. All of this stuff is not necessarily new. It's been around for a while. Flickr is innivative because it was fun.

The elements "Surface - Skeleton - Structure - Scope - strategy"

Surface, typography color layout grids, iconography. Things that give desirability, brand. Blogger as an example of something I worked on with doug bowman who is also at Google now.

Skeleton: About the web application and how it works. what can I poke at

Structure: how is all the stuff organised in the site.

Scope: What of all of this what can we do now? What is out organisation going to focus on?

Strategy: What is our reason for being?

Elements of user experience: Jesse James Garrett


Surface is the first impression with our users. Slide of numbers, we can't tell what this data is. Now if I label this is starts to make sense. To improve this I could add some typography add a heading. use color to show people what the data means. Darker colour blues for more rain. Changes number to relatively signs of rain drops. Is this more accessible? This is dangerous, you can get carried away with this. See the USA today. Parodied by the Onion.

How do we apply this kind of design thinking to what we are doing on Web 2.0. I can make it more interactive. Shows slide of app with a slider to show different US cities based on the level of rainfall at any given month.


Trust is really important. Dr Gitte Lingaard carried out research that found that even if a site is highly useable and put across in a logical way if the first immpression is negative then people won't trust that site.

Visual Appeal, cognition and emotion the halo effect. A lot of people has been writing about this stuff.

Don Norman loves his Alessi? juicer. Even though it doesn't work


Interactivity. This has changed alot. What are the things we need to do on this page. I had done this for a long time. Then Jesse James Garrett, introduced the idea of using Ajax. He thought of this in the shower. He realised he needed a buzzword to get people to pay for it. None of this is new.

Kayak.com a demo of a fluid experience were people can play with the site.

"Roller skates for the web" Bruce Sterling

Discoverability: how easy is it to find stuff. Suggesting things that will enhance the user experience. Google went a different way with mapping making it less like a search engine. Here's a t-shirt site with a drag and drop cart. This is the point of failure. If people don't know how to use a feature it could fail.

iFilm.com registration catches errors before they happen like checking to see if a username already exists.


File upload with basic progress. Showing how much is uploaded. realtime feedback helps.

Feedback: Yellow Fade technique to feedback that something has changed.


I started out in the field of Information Architect. Slide of my documents folder. Now instead of orgnising stuff I tend to label stuff and use desktop search to find it. The same things is happening in web application e.g. del.icio.us. You can also share these things with people. Then you can also see what peopl had tagged with the same tags I was using.

I am completely terrified of lizards. I was eating lunch and I turned round and there was a lizard. I got my camera phone out and take a photo and the lizard sneezed and I ran off and cried. Now if I tag this photo I can click on the lizard tag and show all the photos tagged with "lizard". Popular tags and trends.

This breaks down large hierarchical structures into something that makes sense to people and they make all of the connections.


Scope is also changing alot too. It's so much more focussed as it's so much easier to experiment on the web. It used to cost so much more to get started. hardware is cheap and commoditised and it means that simple ideas can be expressed and explored.

Old things like CMS, vignette. Way too much power to the software. We can now recommend Open Source CMS just use something like a blog system. Slide of Typepad.

Participation. Puting data out there as Xml means that sitesd can collect data together based on what's emerging on the web right now. This is like th semantic web that Tim Berner-Lee has been talking about.

Chicago-crime.org mashup of crime data and maps. This is a side project and open apis make all this possible.


Your site is just one piece. People may not even visit the site just the data that comes out of it.
how are the audiences that are out there changing?

Blogs provide news faster than the actual news channels. It's been termed amateurisation.

Weblogs fix the inefficiencies traditional publishers are paid to overcome.

Who spoke to a human to get here today?

Craigslist and wikpedia, the community self-polices itself. As artcles got added different things happened. 50000 pages the first person was banned. Next step some neo nazis re-wrote the history of world war 2.

When Eric talked about changing through CSS with small group of people this is what these things are small groups of really passionate people.

Structure means I look for the patterns of experience people have and change an app accordingly.

We don't have to worry that WEb 2.0 is going to be boom or bust. So get started on an application!


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