How Web 2.0 usability has permeated our social conscious

In the last 15 years, there has been a huge shift towards better usability on the web. This mainly is a result of Web 2.0, and the rise of the social network. 

In the past, graphical user interfaces were never really necessary in computing, as the tasks done by early computers were mainly administrative in nature and rarely were humans meant to actively interact with humans. In the mid to late 1980’s a huge shift occurred with the rise of newer graphical technologies, this enabled computer manufacturers to add in user interfaces that acted as an easily interpretative visual bridge between the user and the machine. 

The wonderful thing about this is for the first time, the average human being could operate a computer with minimal (if any) professional training. This step forward enabled manufacturers to think about moving the computer from a primarily industrial role, to a personal everyday use, hence the term “personal computer” was born. 

From here, we can see how imperative the need for easily usable graphical interfaces are needed. Early websites tried to use graphical interfaces for their visitors or customers to easily navigate through, some failed miserably (check out Arngren.net). However, we were on the right track to getting the formula correct in regards to how we use and perceive the web.

The dot com bust in the early 2000’s prompted web users and companies to re imagine the web and how we use it. From here, we can see the shift towards a greater need for sites to be more user friendly,more economical and graphically pleasing. The advent of broadband and fibre has also improved how more complex sites like facebook and twitter can be run and made to look very clean and easy to use. 

This standard has become the precedent for many social media sites that have sprung up over the last decade, however, the biggest issue facing social media now is the over use of it. It has invaded almost every aspect of our lives. This basically means that design and usability has reached a point where it’s so appealing to us as human beings, that it has become irresistible for us to ignore. Advertisers are making great use of social media now because it is a cheap outlet for them to advertise their goods and services but also to gain a knowledge database on the people who sign up for their page or simply like their page, so they can use cookies to use targeted marketing. This industry is massive, and is without limitation.

Manipulation of data through the ease of use by social media sites and e-commerce sites has been made easy through crafted, simple design that has taken years to develop. The future of this trend will be an intriguing one and one has to wonder to where the next step will take us. screens are becoming thinner, and with the advent of working virtual reality it seems more uncertain how graphical interfaces will be represented in years to come.

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