First published on September 28, 2006.
In about a month and a half, there will be in San Francisco the third conference dedicated to Web 2.0 – a favorable location for a discussion about the existence (or not) of a “Bubble 2.0“.
With the definitive affirmation of blogs, podcasts, wikis, video and photo sharing, social bookmarking and all the other instruments that value the single user as an ‘active’ part of the web, the continual creation-sharing-reuse of contents ride with an rhythm high as the growth of the number of services that support it. As in ‘new economy’ era, infact, every weeks born tens of startups (more of 300 in the last two years, as Go Web 2.0 and Categoriz confirm) ready to call for the attention of users about a service, and magazine cover’s successes e billionaires acquisitions had the power to expand the capacity of this boom: this time, further, hardware and software costs are decidedly lower, and the offered service is something of ‘tangible’.
The success of a new service, if really demonstrated itself different from all the others, however could decree the end: where there’s a lack of Venture Capitals and/or the ads are to cover the band costs, naturally proportional to the traffic, the only reason of survival remains the sell to a big company. A favorable choice from the beginning, and it’s for this reason that many startup born only to be acquired, creating sometimes a software compatible with other ones of a big group already existent.
Massimo Moruzzi from DTCM, in a post published some weeks ago, said:
It’s a bubble, and there isn’t other exit strategy that sell to Google or Yahoo! - or to Murdoch, or to many others, saying the truth - and if Google or Yahoo! decide to make it in their home, you’re scrubbed. To Writely folks, for some strange reasons went well, but the spreadsheet, instead, has been done in Mountain View. And the calendar, too. And Kiko has been forced to sell itself on eBay.
With an exit-strategy of this kind, anyhow, the problem remains to emerge from the competition sea making public, before the others, this specific goal.
It’s at this point that a fundamental pawn of a web startup, the graphic designer, could give his crucial contribute for the salvation.
As we know by now, Web 2.0 web application’s interfaces have their peculiar style defined by reflections, fades, drop-shadows, strong colors, rounded corners and star badges, these standing out in the header of every homepage.
Badges are the key element of this kind of design, being the first to flash user eyes, and so extremely important for the right communication of a message with fundamental importance.
Below you’ll find some example badges, arranged in four incremental levels, each one related to a different business model.
The transparent PNGs and the Photoshop sources are available here.
[Update April 7, 2007: Here are the Blog Reaction to the original post. ]