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Fri, 8 Aug 2008 11:40:36 +0000
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While I'm definitely up for a discussion about the pros and cons of specific technologies - and while I can definitely appreciate your question - I'm not entirely sure you're going to get the answer your seeking. I say that because simply using one technology over another does not mean that the user experience is automatically going to be better or worse. 

The right interface is the right interface because it makes sense, it feels good, it's usable, it's easy to learn, or whatever criteria you need to measure it by given the situation. Now, the rub comes when you consider that certain interfaces are going to demand the use of specific interaction paradigms (i.e. drag-and drop) or have specific environmental challenges (i.e. download speed, or security issues, etc.)  Here's the point when technology comes into play... Some technologies solve those issues more easily than others, some engineers can work through issues and challenges better than others, and some markets might allow more time to arrive at a solution than others.  

Now... Could you simply stop at the developing UI design? Remain technology agnostic and simply say, "this is the way the interface needs to work and look, and I don't care what technology you (engineering) use, or what you (the business) choose." Sure you could. Is that practical? Probably not. :)  It's probably not practical because of all those other factors you mentioned wanting to "disregard." Factors like: developer resources, certain customer restrictions (plugins/local machine capabilities), market acceptance, etc. You ultimately can't disregard them because they will all factor into the potential capabilities of, the user acceptance of, and some design decisions in the application.

Fortunately you said you're not expecting a clear, short, or easy answer because unfortunately, there isn't one. And that (in my humble opinion) is part of what makes the job fun! The equation to the "right" solution is long, complicated and involves some fairly fuzzy values.

It actually sounds like an interesting research or survey study... Asking usability professionals, interaction designers, UED folks, some formalized and scripted questions about the design problems, environmental challenges, resource challenges, and technology evaluation that they faced on the way to a solution. If you took the answers to those guided questions and put them into a matrix, you might se some patterns start to emerge that could be intriguing. 

Oh - and if you're looking for a co-author, I'm in :)

Cheers, 

Frank  


 -------------- Original message ----------------------
From: Mathijs Panhuijsen <[log in to unmask]>
> Well, fortunately I'm not looking for an easy answer. :)
> I'm more trying to find out what the pros and cons of each technology
> are.
> I'm noticing that a lot of different factors affect the choice of
> technology:
> 
> -'Religious' reasons
> -Developer skills
> -Available developer resources
> -Customer requirements (e.g. do they allow installation of a plugin?)
> -Market acceptance/maturity of the technology
> and so on.
> 
> As 'usability guy' in my organization, I would like to disregard all
> those factors (because other colleagues are plenty worried about those)
> and look at each technology purely on the basis of UI design,
> specifically designing an enterprise-level B2B application. 
> 
> One objective measure, for example, would be to compare the amount and
> variety of GUI controls offered out of the box by each technology, or
> readily available for that technology.
> 
> Another helpful piece of information would be to hear a usability
> designer talk about their experience working with technology X or Y in a
> project (again focusing on the usability aspect): which were the
> pitfalls, what worked beautifully, and would they recommend it again?
> 
> Like I said, I'm not expecting a clear, short answer to my question. I
> would just like to pick the mailing list members' brains.
> 
> Kind regards,
> 
> Mathijs
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: David Malouf [mailto:[log in to unmask]] 
> Sent: Friday, August 08, 2008 01:19
> To: Mathijs Panhuijsen
> Subject: Re: Best Web technology from usability perspective
> 
> there r so many pieces to figuring out how to answer this question. Iy  
> is part of a 1-day workshop I'll be teaching in NYC this October for  
> SmartExperience.org.
> 
> I have a slide deck on slideshare.net that might be helpful.
> 
> But again there us not easy answer here. It really depends. Anyone who  
> tells you otherwise is really blowing smoke.
> 
> - dave
> 
> On Aug 7, 2008, at 5:32 AM, Mathijs Panhuijsen
> <[log in to unmask] 
>  > wrote:
> 
> > Hello everybody,
> >
> >
> >
> > My company is looking into choosing a new Web technology for building
> > their next generation GUI (browser-based).
> >
> > They are considering options ranging from a homebrew AJAX-based system
> > to the Google Web Toolkit to Microsoft Silverlight.
> >
> >
> >
> > My question to you is:
> >
> > Which Web technology would you recommend for building a RIA, purely  
> > from
> > a usability point of view?
> >
> > We're talking here about a very rich application with loads of
> > functionality, not an 'interactive Web site'.
> >
> > In other words, which Web technology works best to develop the most
> > usable interfaces the quickest?
> >
> >
> >
> > Kind regards,
> >
> >
> >
> > Mathijs Panhuijsen
> >
> > Technical Writer
> >
> > SDL Tridion
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > This e-mail is intended exclusively for the addressee(s),and may not  
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