Monday, May 21, 2007

More Questions from Usability 2.0

More responses to Usability 2.0 presentations at Silicon Valley Web Guild event ...

"With the rich interactivity of a Ajax-powered Web applications, clearly the user is getting more but what challenges do these technologies create from a usability perspective?
Ajax, Flash, and other rich Internet application technologies enable element-level (micro-level, if you will) interactions and adaptations. What that means in practice is that certain interactions (most notably page reloads) are no longer necessary. We can update just a portion of a page with relevant or personalized data or actions and not the whole page. We can also include rich interactions within our Web applications that enable the type of direct manipulation people experience with their desktop applications.

Rich, element-level interactions allow us to enable lightweight interactions like voting on digg or rating a movie on Netflix. But because there is no page reload, feedback becomes a key usability consideration. People no longer have a page refresh that tells them their action is in progress or complete. So we need to explicitly let people know the result of their actions. That includes a number of states: in progress, successful, and unsuccessful for starters. Each of these states needs to be tracked and communicated.

We also need to communicate what actions are possible so people have a sense of what they can accomplish. Unexpected actions like drag and drop, in particular, require affordances that provide clues about their use.

I also find that some Web application designs have a tendency to overuse in-page micro interactions. When each element has multiple states or all the actions and content on a page update in-line, people may become disorientated. In some of these cases, a full-page reload might actually work better. Just because we can design all our actions to happen in-line doesn’t mean we should."    (Continued via Functioning Form)    [Usability Resources]


Anonymous Sarah said...

Why not submit the Web 2.0 applications over at and see what the public thinks of it! You can even vote on your favorites!

2:40 PM  

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