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CHI-WEB  September 2002, Week 3

CHI-WEB September 2002, Week 3

Subject:

SUMMARY: Windows GUI vs Web Application Interface

From:

"Hoffman, David" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Hoffman, David

Date:

Thu, 19 Sep 2002 11:59:09 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (113 lines)

Thanks to those who replied... No one seems to be aware of any specific
research, but several people did reply with useful comments or information.
If anyone becomes aware of any additional information on this topic, please
let us know!

The replies are below, and the original question is at the end.

David

******

DeeDee DeMulling [[log in to unmask]]:

Our company provides both a thin web app, a thick web app and a desktop
client.  They are all the same software applications but with different
levels of complex functions and different user interactions.

I would be interested to know if there is research as well.  I only know how
difficult it is to create a common user interface that has a great user
experience and runs equally well in all technologies.

******

ryan sims [[log in to unmask]]:

You may want to take a look at a paper published by microsoft concerning
what they say are 'inductive' user interfaces. It's quite related to
what you're asking about, b/c basically they are making some desktop
apps that function more like the web - microsoft money 2000 is their
prime example. It's not a direct comparison, but is quite instructive on
designing good websites, or alternately, good desktop apps that function
like the web.

http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/dnwui/html/
iuiguidelines.asp?frame=true

******

William Hudson [[log in to unmask]]:

I'm not aware of any research, but Windows is a much better platform for
some things than the web. Data entry in particular is a pain with web
applications because of the absence of simple things like combo boxes.
Large-scale graphical interaction and almost anything that requires
moving large amounts of data are at a disadvantage in a browser.

******

Carl Beeth [[log in to unmask]]:

I think I can answer this without the benefit of a study. (I don't
even think a study could work)

First of all, a bad GUI App can be worse then a web app just as a
good GUI app can be better then a web app.
The potential is in favour of the GUI app. They are much better at
direct manipulation a central tenet in usability. Let suppose you
have an address book application and you want to search it. in the
web app you would have to fill in a field and then submit the query
but in a GUI app you could have the people that don't match filter
away as the person types in his query giving the user instant
feedback on his manipulation.

But the answer is not as simple as that. There are other issues that
need to be taken into account:
- Frequency of use: A GUI app needs to found and launched before it
can be used. - Learning curve: Even very good GUI apps can be
trickier to learn then they also often require a steeper learning
curve since they are not built on web metaphors,
- An applications is not an island. A typical user in needs many
applications in a company (SAP will have you try to believe
otherwise).
- Update frequency. A web app can be continuously updated and
everyone will have the latest version whereas with a GUI app you need
to figure out a dissemination procedure not a big issue if you are a
small company in one location but it gets really tricky as the
company grows and has people roaming.
- Platform independence. A GUI app will be tied to an OS, so, if you
one day decide that the people down on the shop floor don't need a
windows machine for their work you can't replace it with a linux box
with a browser because of all your GUI apps.

Let's say that you want to make a travel booking system for your
company does it make sense to make it a GUI app, probably not, most
users will only use it once a every couple of months so it belongs in
the intranet as a web app. But the people that handle the travel
bookings do it all day long so they might benefit from the more
powerful UI the GUI offers. don't forget the other stakeholders
involved. Managers may need an interface to approve travel expenses,
upper management may need an interface to track travel spending while
accounting... well you get the point

I hope this helps!

******

Original question:

Is anyone aware of any research that compares a windows GUI to a web
application GUI (preferably using the same software application)? Please
send any responses directly to me and I will summarize for the list.

Thank you,
David

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