Etech : Designing the Next Generation of Web Apps
Here we go for Etech 2006 withe the first session
- Web designers 1
- Technical – lots
- Marketing – a few
- All of the above – a few laughs
- Users see web as an information source
- Developers see it as an application
- Incremental changes are possible now – not like having to port an entire app across
- View source – the biggest advance in web design as anyone can see anyone else’s work and copy/modify/remix
- why now – beneficiaries (we are) of the browser wars, the rise of scripting languages which are now getting some industrial backing
- Google have pushed with Gmail and Google maps to the point where people to question what they can do with the web? Gmail re-opened a dead category and made others (Y!) to look again at their product portfolio and see where their market share would be affected by new innovation
- who benefits – first mover advantage is huge in this space
One question from the crowd brings a good answer “What makes this different from the Netscape days”, Microsoft is now behaving differently, they are adopting standards or at least being in invovled now rather than doing their own thing, plus there is now a much larger set of developers out there now. Also where there used to be a requirement to support multiple versions or not everyone and that this negatively affects the business case !!
What’s happening with Mobiles someone asks, we get the usual story of carriers being bad, web is good, US is a few years behind in the mobile world – all crap in my opinion of course
Discoverability – make finding stuff easy – pages dont go away anymore they just update so the back button may change for example?
Does an interface ‘get out of the way’ and favour mental efficiency ?
Some homepage examples and how they miss this, new W2.0 apps are delivering a clean and simple message
Recoverability – actions should be without cost (we digress to a conversation on how broken the Patent system is and how it doesn’t really fit with W2.0 apps)
Are actions cheap enough – make an interaction come with zero or no consequence of doing something wrong
BANG – the power goes out on the presentation stand so we jump to “any questions” to fill while the techie runs about trying to figure it out
we move into a lengthy chat about calendar apps, seemed mundane at first but the interesting part is that what one person wants from an interface is different from someone else – are you sensitive to price, times, dates etc etc
Kayak flight search engine is a W2.0 example of putting all the above into effect, especially when you worry about clicking a link and getting lost or losing data – no penalty of navigation
several examples of good and bad interaction designs
One of the best examples is iFilm which as you fill in fields to register it checks with the server and dynamically tells you your desired username is taken or not, password errors etc
The user needs to know the consequence of an action, what will happen next, what if something goes wrong
The First Impression
Getting a good impression over in 2 seconds, as in what is this site I just landed on, what is the value of doing something at this site and finally what should the user do next?
Blogger case example given. from most powerful, overly techie site to a simple and easy makeover
older style tech gives you a new page that tells you to wait while it does something and users are very familiar with it, the problem now is that when AJAX does something a user can’t see that something has happened and starts to get worried that anything is happening , one example is that an autosave enabled page was given a manual ‘save’ button to make the user feel in control, however the button did nothing.
- the presenters both feel that ‘we’ are not ready for drag n drop yet
- we now have to worry about ‘back buttons’ and sending URL (the page will be different to someone else)
- Flash objects in an AJAX page give excellent results, for example when something in AJAX is too hard
- Stop thinking about where to file something but more about what you were thinking/doing at the time
Narrow down what you are trying to do rather than trying to be all things to all people
- old platforms
- new platform
Nothing overly new but another good reinforcement of the principles that are going into our project (hopefully), good speakers and interesting examples given