Friday, March 03, 2006

Usability for Rich Internet Applications

A look at usability in continually blurring lines between web and desktop apps...

"After struggling for years to design Internet applications around the limitations of HTML, I have been very excited by the recent release of a range of Internet applications with increased richness and interactivity.

Rich Internet applications (RIAs) can provide opportunities to design much better user experiences. They can be faster, more engaging and much more usable. However, this improvement is not without its downside—RIAs are much more difficult to design than the previous generation of page-based applications. The richer interaction requires a better understanding of users and of human-computer interaction (HCI). Although there is a lot of HCI material and research available, it can be difficult to determine how it applies to this new environment.

In this article, I provide some practical tips for designing usable RIAs, based on fundamental principles of HCI.
What’s an RIA?

According to the Wikipedia, RIAs are “a cross between Web applications and traditional desktop applications, transferring some of the processing to the client end.”

The key difference between RIAs and other Internet applications is the amount of interaction in the interface. In a traditional page-based Internet application, interaction is limited to a small set of standard controls such as checkboxes, radio buttons, form fields and buttons. This severely limits our ability to create usable and engaging applications, and most Internet applications have been clumsier and more difficult to use than their desktop counterparts. An RIA can use a wider (and hopefully better) range of controls to improve users’ interaction with the interface, allowing efficient interactions, better error management, feedback and overall user experience."   continued ...   (Via Digital Web)

Desktop usability moves to the web - User Interface Design, Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Ergonomics

Desktop usability moves to the web


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