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  1. #1
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    Use of the term "Interactive" for web dev.

    (Mods, I'm not sure if this belongs here or General Chat)

    I come mainly from an IT/Programming background. From time to time I hear the term "Interactive" such as in "Interactive Agency" or the "Interactive Advertising Bureau" which promotes web ad standards.

    Is this terminology mainly used by those from Advertising/Marketing backgrounds?

    Is "Interactive" the same as for what IT types would normally call "Web Development"?

    I honestly never hear IT people uses the term "Interactive" to describe Web development... so is it mainly a cultural thing? "Interactive" is mainly terminology of Advertising/Marketing folks?

    If so, Where did the term "Interactive" originate to describe web design + development?

  2. #2
    SitePoint Guru Ruben K.'s Avatar
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    It's the opposite of static websites, where everything (from ads to content) would be the same each pageload

  3. #3
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    It comes from web applications that allow your visitors to "interact" with your web site, such as newsletter signups, live chat or support modules, ability to change the theme of page, etc.
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

  4. #4
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    Thanks Ruben & Shyflower.... but to be honest, back in the 90's when static HTML sites were starting to be replaced with PHP, ASP, etc... they were almost always referred to within IT circles as "dynamic" websites... I never heard anyone there say "Interactive"... which just reinforces that the term "Interactive" is mostly from the way Advertising-background folks refer to the web, as opposed to programmers???

  5. #5
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    Interisting point... I'd say that dynamic refers to the fact the the data isn't always the same (like stock market websites, or news web sites, ...). The pages are updated from a database.

    And interactive refers to the fact that the users can interact with the system.
    Chris
    GHR Software, ZIIA, free Enterprise Information System
    www.ghrsoftware.com

  6. #6
    I hate Spammers mobyme's Avatar
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    I can certainly remember when the word "Dynamic" was far more commonly used than it is now. I think the word "interactive" has become an all encompassing term for all the ways to introduce a "dynamic" element with the various technologies available. It tends to have a slightly different meaning within the advertising world as a way of describing the ability to have a pro-active rather than a reactive facility. In my experience.
    Last edited by mobyme; Apr 1, 2008 at 14:34. Reason: left a "was" out
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  7. #7
    phpLD Fanatic bronze trophy dvduval's Avatar
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    Just a quick note, I think "interactive" is super important these days, and should not be underestimated.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy
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    I can't speak for the web dev world in particular but interactive is the term almost always assigned to using the web as a marketing channel. So when people ask what I do the response is that I manage our "interactive channel" or when I'm talking to a marketing firm they'll ask if I want "interactive" media only or both interactive and offline.

    I would imagine the term came from the idea that the web is interactive unlike the offline world... no matter how simple of a website, the visitor is interacting with the site to determine where they go and what happens (although some sites are clearly much more interactive).
    - Ted S

  9. #9
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    Thanks folks! I think mobyme may have said it best in that the terminology has a slightly different meaning within the advertising world.

    I suppose one way to look at it is if you were to ask: "What is the opposite of a STATIC website?"

    I suppose Advertising folks would say "Interactive" and programmers would say "Dynamic". They mean the same thing, but advertisers and programmers tend to be isolated from each other, so different terms for the same thing arose independently.

    Does that make any sense?

  10. #10
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy
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    Perhaps... but at the same time, you have two very different meanings for one word or concept. On one hand, the entire online media world is referred to "interactive" versus "offline", "print" or "traditional" media, on the other you have the idea of a website truly being "interactive" or "dynamic".

    When websites came out in with more sophisticated features early on they really made things dynamic... you could have a dynamic site where stuff changes versus a static site where it was always the same content (think early days of javascript and dhtml, tools like flash, introduction of more server side programming, etc...). Eventually a stronger correlation came about (probably thanks to us marketing nuts who have to name everything in some ultra-important fashion) and you get the term "interactive" as referring to a site that responds to the user, allowing them to interact with it on a more advanced level.
    - Ted S

  11. #11
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    Thanks Ted... I think you hit the nail with the first concept... online/web media is referred to as "interactive" as opposed to other media which is called print, traditional, etc.

    If you look at: www.iab.net ...the slogan at the top says "Dedicated to the continued growth of interactive advertising". Clicking on the "About the IAB" tab there's a descriptive paragraph which uses the word "Interactive" over and over (although the word "online" gets used once)

    So I guess to re-word my question, it would be: Why did Advertising/Marketing folks settle on the word "Interactive" when "online" or "web" would have been more familiar and descriptive?

    IE: "Dedicated to the continued growth of Web advertising" or "Dedicated to the continued growth of online advertising"

  12. #12
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy
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    Because web and online are just such boring words.

    Seriously, my take is that it goes beyond the "web". Interactive marketing can include mobile, applications, gaming or anything digital for that matter. And interactive is a more fun word too.
    - Ted S

  13. #13
    phpLD Fanatic bronze trophy dvduval's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ted S View Post
    And interactive is a more fun word too.
    Awesome, and I think we are interacting now! What fun!

    Part of what makes a place like sitepoint so popular is it is very much an "interactive" portal with all sorts of ways to meet people, add content, read content, and play with content. This is what I think of as interactive, but I'm sure opinions will vary.

  14. #14
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    Because web and online are just such boring words.

    As funny as that seems, that might be closer to the truth


    Does anyone know WHO in the ad world was the first to start using the term "interactive" instead of "web" or "online" ??? Was it some major agency, or prominent ad guru?


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