Is Web 2.0 user-centred design in action?

An interesting perspective from Mike Ellis and Brian Kelly at MW2007:

Trawling the Web finds the following phrases recurring around Web 2.0: “mashup”, “de-centralisation”, “non-Web like”, “user generated content”, “permission based activity”, “collaboration”, “Creative Commons” … What sits at the heart of all of these, and one of the reasons Web 2.0 has been difficult for bigger, established organisations (including museums) to embrace, is that almost all the things talked about put users and not the organisation at the centre of the equation. Organisational structures, departmental ways of naming things, the perceived ‘value’ of our assets, in fact, what the organisation has to say about itself – all are being challenged.

Web 2.0: How to Stop Thinking and Start Doing: Addressing Organisational Barriers

I've been in Laos since Easter but I'm back in London now, and I'm slowly catching up with email, RSS feeds, forums and mailing lists. The only archaeology I saw was Wat Phou but that was fantastic. And the 'Exhibition Hall' was quite good. A proper review and photos may follow if I get a chance soon.

Google Maps for non-geeks – I wonder how much uptake it'll get, and whether it'll change how our users understand geospatial data generally.

"Google has rolled out another do-it-yourself tool from its bottomless box of tricks, this one designed to unleash your inner cartographer.

My Maps integrates with Google's popular mapping service, Google Maps, allowing users to customise the charts with virtual stick pins and pointers into which information – including photos and videos – can be embedded." The Age

There won't be any updates for three or so weeks, I'm off on holiday.

Encouraging news for those producing content to be read online:

Surprise: Study Finds Online Users Finish More Stories Than Print Readers

"When readers chose to read an online story, they usually read an average of 77% of the story, compared to 62% in broadsheets and 57% in tabloids.

In addition, nearly two-thirds of online readers read all of the text of a particular story once they began to read it, the survey revealed.

The research also found that 75% of print readers are methodical in their reading, which means they start reading a page at a particular story and work their way through each story. Just 25% of print readers are scanners, who scan the entire page first, then choose a story to read.

Online, however, about half of readers are methodical, while the other half scan, the report found. The survey also revealed that large headlines and fewer, large photos attracted more eyes than smaller images in print. But online, readers were drawn more to navigation bars and teasers.

Findings also revealed that news event photos received more attention than staged or studio images, while color got more interest than black and white.

Research subjects also were quizzed about what they learned from a story, revealing that readers could answer more questions about a story when it included 'alternative story forms', such as Q&A's, timelines, graphics, short sidebars, and lists."