Faster Or Richer - What Determines Success For Web 2.0 Platforms

It is not always clear what makes the success of a platform. This is even more true for Web 2.0 platforms build around social networking and community content. Well the success metric is the number of users that are using the platform but what does users really attract to the platform? One important factor could be that the platform being first on the market with a new concept will attract most of the users having an affinity to the service offered simply because there is now other option and this winning margin will beĀ carried on over the lifecycle of the platform. However there are lots of examples where this is not quite true like in the search engine market (where is Alta Vista today) or in the internet entry portal space (AOL's still there?). So there are certainly other factors that influence the attractiveness of a platform. Possibly one factor could the attributes of the platform that can be subsumed under the term User Experience (UX). UX is a dimension of an application or platform that becomes more and more important as classical frontend development technologies like HTML, Javascript and Flash evolve and new technologies like Silverlight, Windows Presentation Foundation, Open Lazlo, etc. are introduced. However there is still a reasonable amount of speculations if UX is really the killer factor for the success of a specific application.

Now a real life example could prove which of the both mentioned factors are more important in determining the success of a platform because MIOMI, the company that wants to launch a platform for creating timelines that visualize historical events of world history or personal events related to points in time got company and competition by a site called Xtimeline. As Miomi won a price for the concept at an innovation competition held by Oxford University earlier this year we must assume that the original idea is indeed coming from Miomi however Xtimeline managed to go online with a first beta version of their platform before Miomi. However as the presentation of the timelines on Xtimeline is quite dry and unemotional we will assume, backed by some screenshots, that the Miomi timelines will be much more graphically appealing and will offer the better UX.

So it will be interesting which of the two will have the better success in attracting and keeping their community giving a little insight about what is more important, being first to market or creating the richer, stickier user experience.