The Changing Face of Web Apps

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The face of web applications has changed quite a bit over the years and even over the past few months. The user experience, in my opinion, is getting better in a sense that its making the user think and coordinate less while interacting with the application.

Have you ever had to watch an elderly person interact with a web page? I don’t mean elderly like 100, I mean elderly as in 30. They get really close to the screen, they try to read the text, then they forget where they placed their mouse, so they try to hover over some 8pt text and a huge window pops up in their face with even smaller text and more prompts. So they reach for the mouse, move the popup window to the side, try to copy and paste and tab around.. it’s excruciating.

As much as Web 2.0 has been a change in the way the information on the web is connected and referenced, it has even more so been an evolution of design to fit the form. Traditional user interface design involved the window, the menu, the navigation and the dialog box / form popup. So when it came to the web development, we did the same. Series of onClick and functions that nested together conformed to the user experience that matched the one on the desktop, virtually unchanged in over 20 years.

Web 2.0 has really put that traditional way of design to rest. I spent most of last night coding UI blocking modal containers for Shockey Monkey. Instead of a popup with a delay and prayer that the user doesn’t double click and not see the window, the user interface is blocked and active container displays a form that interacts with the backend, transparently. User only sees the information I want to collect from them, unobtrusively, until they give it to me (or cancel) they don’t get to go back. It reduces the distraction. It reduces the “Sonny, what do I click on to save, when I was your age AOL and Compuserve were the Internet, and we had no SPAM either!”

Yes, gramps, times sure have changed.

(All a part of my new SMB Books whitepaper: “Death 2.0: Guide to inciting murderous rage through blogging.”)

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