Archive for April, 2012

Mobile and wireless devices have allowed us to connect in ways we never have before. With the recent advancement of mobile devices into smart devices, we are able to connect from anywhere at any time to the world wide web.  This has allowed for the advancement of web 2.0 applications to be enhanced for mobile devices, harnessing the user and enhancing data in ways never before possible.

Data is continuously being collected in many different forms to enhance the web experience and with mobile devices the rich data comes in forms of GPS, location, mobile upload, live data stream, and all on-the-fly.

The concept of this web 2.0 pattern is that software on a PC is not the only practical medium of communication across the web; and that resources are now gathered centrally through many forms of devices.

A prime example of moving from the PC to mobile devices, is the cellular phone such as iPhone, Samsung galaxy and Windows phone 8 for typical examples.  These mobile deviecs allow seemless communication to the web in many different forms such as location services, Facebook, eBay, Google and Twitter and many other mobile format applications.

As a good example to discuss, the Windows phone 7.5 will be used in conjunction with the Microsoft SkyDrive; explaining the concept of moving above singular devices and allowing user’s to gather their resources, share and communicate from anywhere they’re connected. The windows phone with the SkyDrive application allows the user’s to move from the PC and access word documents, presentations, photos, emails and hotmail through SkyDrive. SkyDrive is a cloud service allowing user’s to upload, share and store files on a hosted web server (Wikipedia.org). This can be easily accessed from mobile devices, especially Windows 7.5 phones with enhanced SkyDrive connectivity capabilities, allowing user’s to upload and share media straight to the cloud service from within the Operating system.  With the use of Windows 7.5 phones comes enhanced SkyDrive features that allow desktop word processes to be viewed with almost full capabilities on a Windows 7.5 Phone.


The Windows Phone 7/7.5 combined with SkyDrive capabilities makes use of the best practices with relation to the pattern introduced above as it ensures good capabilities on the phone device. This allows for GPS tracking on shared photos, and full Micrsoft Office capabilities unique to the windows phone. What’s unique and a best practice is it’s use of social networking in-built into the OS; with Facebook and Twitter built-in for quick shares.

SkyDrive from the phone view:

(http://www.threedifferentdirections.com/blog/nokia-lumia-710-the-smartphone-with-an-amazing-social-life.html)
The Windows Phone and SkyDrive could quite possibly be the best multi-platform software on the market today. With it’s functionality capabilities of Microsoft office suite, Outlook, photo sharing through an easy in-built SkyDrive functionalities within the OS, makes this software above a singular device one of the best on the market. It makes use of good practices with easy interface and transfer of applications across platforms, free-to-use and available anywhere through a ‘lite’ app or web interface. SkyDrive is just beginning in the development of cloud services and looks to be Microsoft’s finest cloud service, with many useful features available on whatever Windows platform you choose.

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Rich User experiences, one of the core patterns based on O’Riley’s writings of the web 2.0 trend. Rich user experiences in the web is all about high levels of user interaction through dynamically designed web applications.  These rich user applications break down the walls and close the gap between desktop and internet. Bringing together many of the features of a local desktop application that is delivered via a web browser in a rich format in a way that the user may feel when using a desktop application (Auston web design and development).

Further more, what makes the experience ‘rich’ is the web applications ability to engage users in a dynamically changing environment to achieve a desired outcome. For example the use of Java as the engine to power and run real-time apps using the local desktop resources.  The key-term here being ‘real-time’; as apart of the web 2.0 concept, web pages are able to change ‘on the fly’ and adapt to clicks and drags, or anything a user may input on the web page, delivering a ‘Rich Experience’.

Examples of well formed platforms that entail rich user experiences, that make use of good practices include; Google docs, Amazon, flickr, Google Maps, Microsoft SkyDrive, Digg, Twitter, del.icio.us, and many more.

The reason these applications are such successful rich user applications is their coherency to best web practices.  These essentials include the ability to combine the best of both worlds from the desktop form and internet browser form.  Taking the best elements a user experiences using a local desktop application and transforming it into a workable browser-based application (Ryan Stewart, February 9, 2007).  The successful rise of web-based applications such as the ones mentioned above are easy to use online application that maintain user engagement, simplicity and personalization.

One specific example suited to explaining this pattern well is a simple and easy to use application called PopUrls.  The simplicity, mobility and usability is what makes this application so successful. PopUrls is a simple mashup website that gathers the webs most viewed social news in near real-time and was included at number 5 in Time Magazine’s top 50 websites in 2009, making it a great example for this blog.

The user interface delivers a rich experience through it’s usability and simplicity, which as discussed is a core aspect of the pattern. A user visiting the website is confronted with the web’s most hitted news, scrolling over topics will expand the bulk of the article for a quick read, or scroll further down to quickview the most popular YouTube videos and Flikr photos. All headlines are simply linked to the original source, accessed at the click of the mouse.  PopUrls also offer user profiles that can be created to enhance the user experience for more dynamically driven, personalized feeds and also makes use of it’s own search engine to find search related content.  Due to it’s simplicty, it also makes for a good mobile application, with a handy iPhone app making it widely available across multiple mediums.

To conclude this weeks pattern topic, RUE’s or Rich User Interfaces combine good practice designs of simple, dynamic, rich interfaces that close the gap between web and desktop.  With the increasing trend and development it is clear to see that the desktop may become a thing of the past as more rich interfaces are created.  The use of the cloud in web 2.0 is making all of these things possible with the ability to centralize and consolidate services into one and the rise of online desktops that offer a Windows-like experience purely through online services.

References:

    1. Rich Internet Applications, Auston web design and development. Retrieved from: http://www.autson.com/website-design/rich-internet-applications
    2. User Experience, Rich Internet Applications and the future of software. Ryan Stewart, February 9, 2007 Retrieved from: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/stewart/user-experience-rich-internet-applications-and-the-future-of-software/256
    3. 50 Best Websites 2009. Time Magazine. Retrieved from: http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/completelist/0,29569,1918031,00.html