Thursday, February 17, 2005

What makes a website interactive?

Three years ago, answering that question, I would have said "An opportunity for users to communicate with other users." This could have been via message boards, by posting content, by participating in a chat or even on a site-sponsored and archived list serve. My point, then, was that a site wasn't interactive if it was a series of one way communications: website owner to visitor; visitor to website owner.

But the bar has been raised. Now, I'd say that the minimum requirement of interactivity is the ability of users to directly contribute permanently archived and linked content to a site. But that's the minimum.

The gold standard is that users can change the navigation of a web site and/or the order and visibility of content on a site.

For example, in del.icio.us, users change the second level navigation via the displayed tags. This happens from page to page.

On flickr, for logged in users, the front page content changes depending on recent submissions and a low level of navigation changes based on tags.

Wikipedia? Big changes. Adding pages and even categories to the site.


(in: interactivity, website, interactive, community_created, user_created)