It’s a Web 2.0 world—and I think it’s about time we started to take advantage of it. One great place to start making changes is the OASIS dita.xml.org website, a site dedicated to the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA). It’s useful in the old school web 1.0 paradigm, but lacks the value-added content needed to make the site more than a glorified listing of stuff about DITA.
Take for instance the DITA training service listings. In its current state, it’s nothing more than free advertising for training vendors. Sure, you cold argue that it’s helpful in identifying some companies that provide DITA training services. But that’s all. Without user-generated content, it’s little more than an alphabetical directory of trainers savvy enough to get themselves listed on the site. There’s little value to the end user of the information.
But the value of the list could be improved by adding user-generated content. Most folks would rather view a list of trainers and filter them by price, by geographic location, and by rating (just like we do hotels when searching travel websites like Bookings.com). By allowing users to generate ratings (1 star is poor, 5 stars is excellent) and share their experiences with vendors (in a narrative, perhaps) we will increase the quality of the listings, assist site users in selecting the right trainers and software vendors, and help software vendors and training service providers to improve their offerings.
It seems like a win-win for all involved and something we ought to strive to include in the next generation of the website.
What do you think?