Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Improving User Workflows with Single-Page User Interfaces

Displaying relevant controls only vs. all controls ...

"Over the last two years, Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) have been a hot topic of discussion. While the sheen has already begun to wear off the buzzword Ajax a bit among Web application designers, RIAs are bigger than ever with our clients and their customers. Everyone seems to love slider-based filtering, drag and drop, fisheye menus, and auto-completion for input fields. Web application designs that include none of these typical Ajax features are not well received. Sometimes, one gets the feeling that Web developers implement richness just for the sake of making a Web site and the company that commissions it look cool. Obviously, user experience design should be about a lot more than creating cool controls.

Having said this, I believe RIAs are here to stay, but not so much because of their cool controls as because richness can improve the way Web applications support complex, non-linear user workflows.

Multi-Page Versus Single-Page User Interfaces

One of the most exciting aspects of Ajax is the single-page user interface, in which all interactions with a Web application take place on one page. Only relevant controls and information appear on the page; those that a user does not currently need are hidden. As necessary, an application can readily display new information or functionality by partially refreshing the page. Highly interactive features like real-time error feedback, inline editing, within-page calculations, and filtering and sorting of tables are similar to those you’d find in desktop applications. Single-page user interfaces allow users to work in an intuitive, non-linear way."    (Continued via UXmatters)    [Usability Resources]

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