Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Rich Internet Applications - User Experience vs User Interface

The 'Rich' in Rich Internet Applications means UX, short for user experience. If the user is not enjoying a more compelling and hassle-free experience then the developer is simply not doing something right.

Here are 50 of some of the very best rich internet applications, as judged by Theresa Neil.

Some of these are really good.

Remember though, let's not loose sight of the trees while we're still in the woods. Yes, some of these RIA's do have great User Interfaces. But this concept should not be confused with User Experience..

Rich user experience requires not only that the user interface be intuitive, fluent and productive, but also that it be functionally rich.

A true rich internet application is therefore one that is able to complete most common business rules without having to constantly resort to remote services to complete the execution. And for that you need functionally rich RIA clients that increase the overall responsiveness of the business application which in turn contributes to higher end-user productivity.

Top-notch graphical design may contribute to overall user experience, but in today's economic environment of leaner IT budgets, too much focus on design can end up impeding productivity.

Enterprises and software vendors looking to make the greatest return on their business application investment should consider platforms that cater first and foremost to User Experience - while keeping the door open to extra graphical and functional enhancements that can be added when the time is right.

We talk more about the trade-off's between User Experience and User Interface in this white paper.