[whatwg] What improves Web applications?
peter.harlow at thales-transportservices.com
Fri Jun 11 05:54:42 PDT 2004
I agree the user experience aspect is very important.
In the "Introduction to XUL" referenced below, the Amazon example is
sprawling (too much on one page), especially as the window is small.
With the XUL example it is blindingly obvious to me what to do with the
page (tabs), as I spend most of the day navigating such things.
However, I know plenty of people who would be completely stumped if
presented with such a layout. Think people who can open the browser, but
would never move files around, etc...
Better to provide a simple form of a few elements that don't need
scrolling and a big 'next' button.
A big plus point would be to prefetch the next page so it loads
immediately the 'next' button is clicked. Or a mechanism to load several
forms with one document which can be dealt with sequentially in the
browser window. People hate to wait.
Otherwise people will not fill in a tab, get an error message, have to
go back... People *hate* to be told they have screwed up, especially by
a machine. Especially when the reason is not apparent, the é in my
address being a good case. Okay, people may learn to use the new widgets
eventually, meanwhile the technology will get a bad reputation for
purely UI issues.
Of course, there are the commercial types who will insist on a bucket
load of graphics on each form page, a perennial problem. One of the best
maxims to apply where computers are concerned is 'Just because you can,
doesn't mean you should'.
I'm not saying we shouldn't have the facility to do these things - just
to be careful to use them to enhance the experience of the user.
Nigel McFarlane wrote:
>> However, having said that, making things better for users is good too:
> The point I keep coming back to with Web apps is that they
> are a fundamentally different use-case to Web docs.
> Web docs are "browsed" and "read", which can be re-phrased as
> "lightly navigated". They are visited "ad-hoc" or casually.
> Web apps are "tightly navigated" and subject to "data entry".
> They are visited "repetitively" or routinely.
> Of course, it's possible to build a DHTML page that's
> tightly navigable without the user having to absorb a lot
> of information about images and white areas. It's just not
> done much. And it's not possible to navigate a Web app by
> keyboard without the focus moving to the toolbar (irritating)
> or else providing a pop-up window.
> The web bolt-on technique of "breadcrumbing" is an example of
> how HTML is encumbered by lack of fast navigation techniques.
> There are no breadcrumbs in WinZip or in MYOB/GnuCash/QuickBooks
> (for example), and no nedd for them.
> I touched on this recently here:
> I'm not saying that's a full analysis, but it does
> contrast and compare some HTML tricks with XUL ones.
> - Nigel.
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