It’s the End of the Web As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

Mark Greenfield, University at Buffalo

The end of the Web page paradigm

“The future Web experience is a source of data to be remixed collectively”


  • The page is no longer the atom of the Web.
  • Linking is being replaced by syndication.
  • Content is more important than the container.

Issues for Web Professionals

  • How important is the home page? (Over 80% of users don’t see home page).
  • How important is Web design if no one sees your site? (Viewing content within RSS readers).
  • How important is information architecture if people are getting content directly without interacting with your site?
  • Copyright applies to RSS.

The Mobile Web

  • Book: Persuasive Technology – BJ Fogg.
  • “People don’t just adopt mobile devices, they marry them.”
  • In Japan, more people are accessing the Internet from cell phones than from computers.
  • 30 countries with more cell phone subscriptions than people (was 3 last year).
  • 3G Cellular technology, broadband speeds to cell phones.
  • With broadband access, people are always on, always connected.
  • Nokia is calling now calling their smart phones multimedia computers.
  • Infrared keyboard, via bluetooth, with laser projected keyboard, for $200.

Issues for Web Professionals

  • Design for small screen.
  • Mobile computing involves imperfect conditions.
  • Browser compatibility.
  • Web accessibility.
  • Location-based services.
  • We may use it everywhere, but not for every purpose.

The Evolution of Content

Tim Berners-Lee’s blog: “The idea was that anybody … could create a Web page.”

A return to the Read/Write Web

  • Exponential increase in amount of info.
  • Move from static to dynamic content.
  • Importance of information literacy — identify good from bad (Sturgin’s law: 90% of everything is crud).
  • Participation Age — away from from mass media to my media.
  • The Attention Economy. Jeff Veen, getting attention is now an economic focus.
  • The Paradox of Choice. How the culture of abundance robs us of satisfaction.
  • The Long Tail.
  • How do we reconcile the Long Tail and the Paradox of Choice?
  • Ambient Findability by Peter Morville – Build the tools to help people find what they want to find.
  • Findabilty precedes usability.
  • See: Stanford Guidelines for Web Credibility.

Web as Platform

  • Web Office applications: Google Docs and Spreadsheets (Writely), Zoho.
  • Start Pages: Netvibes.
  • Collaboration: Basecamp.

Issues for Web Professionals

  • Validating the credibility of information.
  • Cede control to read/write Web.
  • New skill sets.
  • Usability and accssibility.
  • Security and privacy.


  • The dawning age of ubiquitous computing.
  • See: Minority Report.

The World Network

  • The Web is becoming the first piece of the bigger network as it meshes with Wi-Fi broadband, GPD, and RFID.
  • Instead of seeking information or entertainment, it will find you.
  • USA Today: The Web as your servant

Issues for Web Professionals

  • What are the implications from a web of people to a web of things.
  • What will be the moral and ethical issues of ubiquitous computing.
  • Book: The World is Flat, Thomas Friedman.


Book: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised by Joe Trippi

  1. Be first, or do it much better than anyone else.
  2. Keep it moving, the Web is continually changing.
  3. Use an authentic voice, more credibility in peers than press releases.
  4. Tell the truth, it’ll get out soon, anyway.
  5. Build a community, change from an institutional view.
  6. Cede control, work with the outsiders.
  7. Believe again, senior staff are starting to understand what we can do.