It’s all about immersion

Posted on August 19, 2007


Susan Wu has written a lovely post in which she captures very elegantly some thoughts about what the next generation web might be.

To date, most of what I’ve read puts “the semantic web” – in quotes because no-one really seems to agree what it’s actually all about – in the “web 3.0” spot. Ms Wu makes life easier on herself by instead focussing on the experience that each of these generations of the internet have brought to the party:

Web 1.0: Information Sharing
Web 2.0: Interaction
Web 3.0: Immersion

The 3D nature of Second Life leads itself to an experience which is immersive, but as Susan Wu points out, 3D isn’t the only way of doing this: it’s just the one which is most obvious, and apparently sexy.

I really like this way of thinking about the paradigms of experience – it works both from a technology and a Hype Curve perspective. Also the concept of immersion meshes nicely into the firm beliefs I have about the way that good technology becomes invisible, ultimately making the user experience seamless.

The iPhone (which I finally got to play with last week) falls neatly into the invisible technology slot. As a device, of course, it’s hugely tactile, beautifully designed, and far from invisible in a real-world sense (especially if you’re on a late tube train in a dodgy area of town…), but as a technology experience, it’s pretty close to seamless, and as such becomes immersive.

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