Stockholm launched a new website this spring and did it in a new way. Months before the launch they released a beta-version were they invited all the people in Stockholm to contribute and give opinions on how their website should be. They had a fully transparent and open dialogue with the citiziens and together the new stockholm.se took shape. The development was also documented on a public blog. Stockholm gained a lot of publicity for this and many other municipalities around in Sweden have followed them. The city of Västerås have a beta version of the coming website up and running now. The city of Örebro launched their new website a couple of days ago and they also had a beta-version up a couple of weeks before the launch so the citiziens could get a chance to take part in the finalizing of the website.Web 2.0 is much about letting the users in. Not only to the ready made website. But already while developing it. Do you dare to let them decide what they like to find on the site? In what order? etc.

What the users want

And talking about what the users want: All three examples above have implemented our well-integrated services. Stockholm and Västerås, the ReadSpeaker Enterprise as an integrated expanding Flash-player. That gives the best possible user experience for Win PC, Linux and Mac users. But there is of course also a noscript/ no flash alternative for mobile users and other users without Flash support. Örebro have a very strong focus on usability/accessibility. So they wanted our ReadSpeaker proReader to give all the possible aid to people with different kind of challenges, such as reading and language difficulties. I am sure other municipalities will follow these three. And the future is user generated/contributed development, platform independence and serverbased, neatly integrated audio versions of the content. Websites and services that demands a certain web browser (usually Internet Explorer) belongs to the history. And to speech-enable the site by offering a plugin that only work in IE is not accessibility in any means. More and more people will surf in to your website from an iPhone, Nokia N-series or other mobile devices. And they all have benefit of the audio version since the screens are so small. And they most certainly dont have any benefit of a plugin that only works in Windows PC and Internet Explorer.

Web 1.0 – 4.0

Some people mean we already have the Web 4.0 here. I heard this very good and short descriptions of the different web generations recently:

  • Web 1.0: They
  • Web 2.0: We
  • Web 3.0: For Me
  • Web 4.0: Always (and everywere)

How far have you reached in this development? Is your website a brochure stand or is it a living platform accessible for everyone, anywere, anyhow and anytime?