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How the Web became successful

To take a look at how the Web became the success that it is today, one needs to look back at the traits that the Web had at the time, to see what possibilities worked.  By looking back at how it became successful, there are some traits that would be useful to follow for any future endeavours, such as this research.

The success of the Web has come from some basic traits that have allowed it to expand at a tremendous rate, such as:

*        Having a core initial user group (at CERN)

*        Integration of existing data such as diverse databases and systems that required specific applications to access.

*        Using standards that were either already in use, or that were easily used (both simple and public, or open)

*        Being cross platform

*        Working across organisations

Success on the Web today

Just looking back at what made the Web successful to begin with is not enough.  To be successful with any new endeavour, one must also know what is successful today.  This allows the original reasons for success to be combined with the current ways that the Web succeeds in order to emulate those successes.

The main area that is a resounding success on the Web is the dissemination of information.  One of the main problems with this is that the sheer amount of information that is available can at times be a problem.  There were 21,166,912 web hosts when Netcraft conducted a web server survey in September 2000 [Netcraft 2000].  This can present a problem to people who are searching for information, as it can sometimes be difficult to locate the information that you require, even when it is out there.

Other areas that are quite successful, in a well designed web site, include:

*        Using the Web for general reference material (provided that appropriate precautions are taken for screening out inappropriate material, such as X X X or sex sites, from minors)

*        Support mechanisms for collaborative design of other things (e.g. many Open Source [Comerford 1999], [Hecker 1999] programs.  Open Source is a software development model that harnesses the many programmers spread throughout the Internet, rather than the traditional model of harnessing a few programmers in a specific location.  See for more information).

*        User support (The ability for users to search for and find information that will help them with any queries or problems)

*        Sharing information that you possess

*        Allowing universal readership (although it is a pity that many webmasters don't take note of this one. e.g. a site that requires graphics, or scripting)

*        Format negotiation - the ability to receive information in the most appropriate format (such as your native language, provided the web site has a translation available).

*        Searching, provided that you know what you are searching for, and how to express it in a non-ambiguous way (not always as easy as it sounds)

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