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CHI-WEB  September 2003, Week 1

CHI-WEB September 2003, Week 1

Subject:

Summary: Doing away with the browser navigation

From:

Navneet Nair <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Navneet Nair <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 4 Sep 2003 03:46:51 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (96 lines)

I received a lot of replies to this question, and Iím sorry Iím unable to
individually thank everybody for taking their time to answer this question.
Some of the replies were quite exhaustive and listing it verbatim in the
summary was not feasible. So Iíve culled the points into five main segments for
the summary. They are:

1. Advantages
2. Disadvantages
3. Suggestions
4. Why go with the full screen approach (motivation)
5. And finally implementation issues.


Advantages
1. The "page' metaphor is not useful in applications, so forward, backward, and
print were less valuable than screen real estate.
2. Consistent look of your application over diff browsers
3. User jumps from Netscape to IE to Safari to Opera and have trouble adapting
their experiences from one to slightly different interface.
4. If you used well, it can bring value to your site/application.

Disadvantages
1. If the application is in a browser, it should act like a browser, use
something other platform for applications, downloadable GUI or flash based
application
2. Removing instant feedback in browser - the animation in top right hand
corner and no status bar.
3. Why make them learn new way of doing? What about the history feature hidden
behind the back button (drop down list Ė though this can be achieved using
JavaScript -NN)?
4. Problems for users not comfortable with multiple windows.
5. Users are used to browsers working in a certain way, and in between the
times they are using your application, that expectations will be reinforced.
6. Risk of the custom button behaving not 100% as the browser navigation.
7. Hesitate to click custom button because not sure about its functionality.

Suggestions
1. Hide browser controls and provide similar buttons, animated gif etc.
2. Re skinning existing browser.
3. You must present a compelling case for the alternative that is, removing
browser navigation.
4. If custom navigation buttons behaves exactly as browser, then donít replace
if its simply replicating functionality
5. If custom navigation buttons behaves slightly different, then don't mimic
the browser buttons and replace with custom because while button in reality
does something very different other than expected standard functionalities.
6. Provide directional navigation somewhere else to underline that fact that
their function is different from what user expects. Render them more useful or
better, more frequently used.

Why go for full screen?
1. If you have application that is full platform independent web capability,
then no need of button bar, address bar, status bar, etc.
2. If you have to do with browser then it should looks like an application, it
should works like application and there should be an instant feed back for
every interaction.
3. What made it work is that user only went into the help to find an answer to
their question.
4. Its not bad idea, especially in targeted application
5. It being a principle of good web application design, you shouldn't rely on
the functionalities of the browser.
6. Rules in application design are often quite different than website.
7. You are not really running a "browser" even if you are using an HTTP
rendered application.
8. It isn't a browser. Itís an application.
9. If it is course specific navigation, then itís fairly limited and users
mental models are based on conventional media like book magazine article
tutorial etc.

Implementation Issues -
1. Allow pop up window?
2. Login screen in normal browser and launch another window with the browser
navigation off?
3. What happens with session out?
4. Where login screen appear after session out?
5. How to deal with context menu accessible on right click which same browser
navigational functions
6. How to get out of full screen mode and back to normal browsing.
7. User some times wants to use the back button, but they are looking actually
for "undo" function in application



Navneet Nair
Interaction Architect
http://www.onclipevent.com
form follows function();
Blog: http://www.onclipevent.com/enterframe/

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