Jeff Veen is Smart

“A distillation of all the things that are good on the web.” — Jeff Veen on Web 2.0

Are we getting back into the boom and bust of the Internet around Web 2.0? That was the lead in that Jeff Veen used as he kicked off the keynote for the Web 2006 conference. What are the lessons we are learning from the web 2.0 space? What do we want to do now that we are getting there? And are we facing the same challenges with web 1.0?

If we don’t embrace it, we’ll be out of business … not exactly. The intelligent use of these new technologies is the key. He sees a lot of people with major misconceptions as they relate to this stuff … he likened the emergence of web 2.0 to other major technological events — the railroad for example lead to not only major change, major wealth, and then a bust … but always triggered major change. Are we going back to the future with all this stuff? There are signs that he sees.

The elements of web 2.0 … sort of structure for how websites come together … this is the Jesse James Garrett work … Surface indicates how we draw people in via the way things look. He used blogger as an example … how simple it looks and engages people from the second you show up. You then have to look at the Skeleton. This points to how we are going to communicate what we can do for you on the web via the page … these are elements like navigation and interaction. We then move to the structure … how all of our stuff on our site is organized. It indicates how we organize a site and communicates how to travel to the information you need. From there is scope … what does your organization do and what do we work to focus on within the boundries of our web space? Making sure we are within our constraints. FInally there is strategy … “following the money.” Figuring out if it all matches up with the other elements and meets the needs of our organization. He spent quite a bit of time drilling down on all of these issues … good stuff.

Web 2.0 is about trust … trusting your users as peers. It is no longer about a big push from me to you … it is an open environment in which I need to give you a framework to enable and empower you. As an information designer that is what needs to be done. The first impression is critical towards end users trusting you via your webspace. We establish very strong cognitive impressions of sites from the first impression at the surface level. In web 2.0, users control their data … “this is my stuff, help me with my stuff.” He mentions that Flickr isn’t all that different than photoshop … I can post it, I can edit it, and I control it. Interesting perspective.

AJAX is not new … the term is, but it is all built on stuff that has been around since the 4.0 browsers … he shows and how it makes it so much more fluid an experience we are moving towards. The biggest usability challenge is not difficulty, it is that people are afraid to break stuff. AJAX helps people play with stuff, “like roller skates for the web.” This new approach lets you have one page that can continue to update and pull data into without all the movement and reloads. Four principles of information design:

  • Discoverabilty – making stuff easy to find … sometimes we push it too far.
  • Recoverability – actions should be without cost … the registration page is a perfect example where you never leave a page.
  • Context – let people know what is going on.
  • Feedback – how the system responds … showed how gives you great feedback as you are manipulating items.

Random Quotes

Tagging … “experience as architecture.” Enabling social networks … by letting people organize themselves and other people find it … and engage with each other. If you ask me, this is one of the spaces that we must continue to explore and push in the higher education landscape.
Old problems that need to be solved, new platform, participation that is driving us to do more … read that as a stack.

Amateurization … “an architecture of participation.” Veen uses that one from O’Rielly all the time to describe the web 2.0 space. If you think about the fact that there are so many sites we get our news and information from — it isn’t just the big guys anymore.
Go get the presentation — Creatvie Commons Attribution license …

So I have to give a talk later today on Web 2.0 … shit. Veen nailed it, I wonder if I can just cancel my session. Update, our session was good and too much fun … we shoulda podcasted it!

3 thoughts on “Jeff Veen is Smart

  1. Jeff Veen is Smarter than Smart…and you and Jim aren’t too shabby either…
    It’s funny how you and Jim worried about being Veen v2, but I feel that your session only complimented what he began – and that’s the point of a conference of this nature, right? What really fascinates me, at this point anyway, is – do we focus our energies on creating/updating such services at Penn State (sure, in part), or do we focus our energies on how we can best leverage and properly create our current id management infrastructure to work with what’s already out there – and being used by students – and faculty and staff for that matter. How do we effectively join the worlds so to speak, while maintaining and nurturing integrity, independence, engagement, and dare I say it COLLABORATION? The silver bullet is near – we have the pieces on so many levels – it’s just getting there, I think, that will be a bit of a challenge – but damn, it will be energizing and hair-raising – and that’s a good think from my perspective. Much of what was discussed today works toward solving the problem of the virtual organization – in several contexts – faculty, staff, students. I believe that we’re almost there – but one of the primary challenges will be related to how we focus our energies. What’s reassuring is that we have supporters and like-minded people in higher ed. (Mark Greenfield is simply one example) – but there is a community of people at Penn State ane beyond who wish to keep moving forward. Will we relive the mistakes of Web 1.0? Perhaps – or maybe not at all – or maybe just a little. We might be a little bit wiser (um, and more jaded) to learn from that experience. One thing we cannot ignore is the social/cultural context – it’s more about social studies and psychology than it is about technology anymore. The latter is almost – is – easier on several levels, in my opinion. Frankly, it’s why I watch MTV – gotta keep your fingers on the pulse.

    Over and out for now – today was a good day – and by far, the best Penn State Web. Conf. I’ve attended – and of which I have been a part.

    QOTD by my husband: “Let’s go work for Veen.” Amen. Don’t tell Kevin. 😉

  2. Just wanted to tell you that I got more out of your two sessions today then I have from all the sessions I attended during the past 2 PSU web conferences. It’s great to see someone so sucessful and down to earth and intelligent from my hometown(there’s only a handful of you as I’m sure you know-visit the Padock when BU is on break or attend a summer carnival!)

    Thanks for the info and the entertainment today it was really enjoyable!

  3. Presenters like Jeff Veen and Your Own Self put the conference into warp drive this year, Cole! Thank you!

    My only regret is that I was either presenting or chairing a presentation every time you were presenting, so I missed your stuff entirely, and it’s not recorded anywhere. That so sucks! We have got to put some of these technologies to work at the conference – Pod/Vodcasts and Real-Time Blogs for starters – so that all this great information doesn’t slide away so quickly.

    We should have been Vodcasting everything from Jeff’s keynote to the tennis ball-sized baby mallards in the pond outside the Penn Stater (who arranged for those baby ducks, anyway? nice touch.). Ah well. Next year we’ll do better.

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