November 06, 2007

Widgets, Badges and Gadgets

Dion Hinchcliffe;

  • The Web is Global SOA
  • Users are taking charge of their web experience. Web sites increasingly providing portable content
  • Atomization opf content – small pieces are easier to re-use
  • DIY web
  • The web as a “parts superstore”
  • Jakobs Law of the Web User: Users spend most of their time on other peoples’ sites
  • The most successful sites leverage this
  • Create open platforms
    – APIs, widgets+badges, syndication
    – re-use APIS etc from other organisations. Don’t re-invent the wheel
  • Widgets: Small applications or bits of functionality that can be embedded on the web; typically ajax or flash
  • Badges: Displays of content pulled under the covers from other websites. Less interactive than widgets
  • Gadgets: Widget models with specifications e.g. google, netvibes, MS
  • Key features of widgets:
    – supreme ease of consumption and distribution: copy/paste; one-line JS includes; object/embed tags for flash
    – connect to their underlying sites to provide value + control
    – have a business model baked deeply into it
  • Users
    – Consumers – moving content and functionality to where they need it
    – Developers and prosumers – easy to integrate with high-value functionality
    – Businesses – external sourcing of functionality and content
    – Web apps built “On the shoulders of giants”
  • Examples
    – google gadgets
    – MS live
    – WidgetBox (re-useable widget directory)
    – Myspace Widgets
  • Simple widgets get much wider use than complex ones
  • OpenSocial: OS gagets will run on every OS-capable site, and get social data from that site
  • Widget Stories:
    – YouTube video badge – uses the web as a content “billboard”; consistently drives user growth, video views, and traffic back to the site. Made it utterly simple to embed – show the code next to every video
    – Google Adwords Widget; probably the most successful widget in history; drives a huge amount of revenue for google. Good user incen tive, extreme ease of use, strong viral feedback loop.
  • Blogs, wikis are end-user IDEs
  • Recommendations:
    – small pieces, loosely joined
    – re-use if possible, but be aware that there are few SLAs
    – understand the implications for intellectual property
    – provide an absolute minimum of restrictive structure.

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