Dion Hinchcliffe wrote a great article at Ajax Developers Journal, here's my favorite excerpt:
The Essentials of Leveraging Web 2.0
- Ease of Use is the most important feature of any Web site, Web application, or program.
- Open up your data as much possible. There is no future in hoarding data, only controlling it.
- Aggressively add feedback loops to everything. Pull out the loops that donâ?'t seem to matter and emphasize the ones that give results.
- Continuous release cycles. The bigger the release, the more unwieldy it becomes (more dependencies, more planning, more disruption.) Organic growth is the most powerful, adaptive, and resilient.
- Make your users part of your software. They are your most valuable source of content, feedback, and passion. Start understanding social architecture. Give up non-essential control. Or your users will likely go elsewhere.
- Turn your applications into platforms. An application usually has a single predetermined use, a platform is design to be the foundation of something bigger. Instead of getting a single type of use from your software and data, you might be hundreds or thousands of them.
- Donâ?'t create social communities just to have them. They arenâ?'t a checklist item. But do empower inspired users to create them.
I would add one more item, or expand on ‘Ease of Use'. Within Ease of Use are 2 components:
- Usability – the methodology that the user takes to performing tasks should be natural and not require excessive training.
- Great design – I hate to admit this, but an exceptional design will help. If you have a free application, perhaps it's not as important; but if you're selling a service, then it's an expectation to have nice graphics and page layouts.
Turn your application into platforms and continuous release cycles both lend themselves to ‘widget, plugin, or add-on' technology. If there's a means of building out a portion of your application that allows others to build into it, you're going to leverage development well beyond the walls of your company.
I'm not sure I agree with ‘Open up your data' but I do agree with leveraging your data. Open data in this day and age can be a privacy nightmare; however, leveraging data that your users supply is an expectation. If I you ask me how I like my coffee, I hope that the next time I get coffee, it's the way that I like it! If it's not, don't ask me in the first place!