Web 2.0: Rich User Experiences (RUE)

Posted: April 3, 2012 in INB347 Web 2.0
Tags: , , ,

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
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Comments
  1. RyanP says:

    I see you’re a big fan of mashups, nice.

    I think mashups in general are a large contributor to the evolution of the web because they are more driven by what people want and need, rather than what large companies think people need. They’re also quicker and easier to produce, making them attractive to smaller enterprises.

    PopURL is a good example. It aggregates all the data from a wide range of sites and makes it accessible to the public in one location, lets you search through all of it quickly and easily and lets you customise not only the feeds you subscribe too, but also the layout of the site. Good find!

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