Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

RE: [usage-centered] browser based application UI

Expand Messages
  • Jeff Patton
    Larry s comments are indisputably correct. Certainly there s no need for a browser based application to look and feel like one simply for the sake of it.
    Message 1 of 5 , Sep 11 8:59 AM
      Larry's comments are indisputably correct. Certainly
      there's no need for a browser based application to
      look and feel like one simply for the sake of it.
      However your comments Hallvard do get at the meat of
      what I'm saying.

      By now there's a certain body of knowledge we can
      anticipate that users come to the computer with.
      Certainly that's gated by who the users are and the
      nature of the software, but in general with software
      built for frequent users we can expect understanding
      of some basic UI behavior - and even count on it. In
      a windows based application, I expect ctrl-c & ctrl-v
      to copy and paste. I expect file-save to be in the
      upper left hand corner of the UI.

      When I type a url into a browser I expect a certain
      bag of behavior as well. I certainly don't want to
      get reprimanded by the application for hitting the
      browser's "back" or "refresh" buttons as many
      applications pre-occupied with managing a stateful
      session tend to do. Nor do I have trouble
      understanding that if I don't "submit" the form I'm
      working on, I can't expect the data I've keyed in to
      have been transmitted back to the server. It's also
      been my experience that not excepting fundamental
      truths about browsers - like back buttons - can result
      in lots of delicate server-side code and/or client
      side code with hundreds of lines of embedded
      JavaScript to feign client-like behavior.

      I believe in _Software for Use_ there's some verbage
      on delivering software to users using their own
      language. The browser is fast becoming a tool used on
      a daily basis by millions of people for wildly
      different reasons. There's value in leveraging what
      users know about browser usage. Understanding browser
      usage is fast becoming part of the language of many
      disparate user communities.

      > And if there is a
      > mismatch between the
      > users' expectations and the real rules of
      > interaction, the interface will be
      > a lot less usable, even though it is based on a
      > sound task model.

      Focusing in on that comment, has anyone seen anything
      written regarding applications that suffer as a result
      of breaking users expectations - or alternatively
      applications which have succeed in spite of breaking
      accepted conventions within their deployment
      environment?

      Thanks both Larry and Hallvard for your valuable
      comments.

      -Jeff

      --- Hallvard Tratteberg <hal@...> wrote:
      >
      > -----Original Message-----
      > >From: Larry Constantine
      > [mailto:lConstantine@...]
      > >The real issue is not whether it looks and works
      > like a web-page in a
      > >browser or like an application with the browser as
      > thin client. The
      > >important thing is whether it best supports the
      > work that users need to
      > >accomplish. There are web-based applications that
      > demand departure from web
      > >conventions for efficient task support.
      >
      > While I agree that you should always start with a
      > task model, this will only
      > cover higher level interaction. Adaption to a
      > particular interaction style
      > and platform, like web-interaction through a
      > browser, requires getting many
      > details right. Implementing direct manipulation is
      > impossible in a
      > web-browser, and while the browser/server model fits
      > the forms based
      > interaction style pretty well, it cannot always be
      > made to look & feel like
      > a standard database application. And if there is a
      > mismatch between the
      > users' expectations and the real rules of
      > interaction, the interface will be
      > a lot less usable, even though it is based on a
      > sound task model.
      >
      > >Another issue is the target audience and usage
      > context. An application used
      > >by a captive intranet or extranet audience has
      > greater latitude than a B2C
      > >e-commerce site. However, even there, the rules
      > keep changing, and visitors
      > >are becoming accustomed to embedded Java applets,
      > pop-up tools, etc.
      >
      > The browser is increasingly being used for "real"
      > applications, by gradually
      > mixing in new technology for making the browser more
      > responsive (without
      > going through the server) and slowly extending what
      > is expected from
      > interaction through browsers. Nevertheless, I
      > believe one should be very
      > careful not to overload a web-application with
      > interaction from other
      > styles, and perhaps use Java (which in this
      > discussion is just another
      > standard GUI implementation platform) for the whole
      > application.
      >
      > >The best way in practice is always to design it
      > right from a task-support
      > >perspective, then adapt it to implementation
      > context, compromising only
      > >where necessary and acceptable.
      >
      > Again, as a general rule I agree with this, but at
      > some point in detailing
      > the user interface the interaction style mandated by
      > the platform takes
      > becomes more important than the task model in
      > defining the interaction. At
      > that point other rules apply, which are not covered
      > by the task/usage-based
      > approach.
      >
      > Hallvard Tratteberg, stipendiat ved IDI, NTNU
      > http://www.idi.ntnu.no/~hal, mailto:hal@...,
      > phone:+47 7359 3443
      >
      >


      __________________________________________________
      Do You Yahoo!?
      Yahoo! Mail - Free email you can access from anywhere!
      http://mail.yahoo.com/
    • Larry Constantine
      Jeff, ... Yes, indeed, and we all must remember that we are the oddballs. The majority of users surfing with IE have no idea that you can ctrl-c & ctrl-v. For
      Message 2 of 5 , Sep 11 2:33 PM
        Jeff,

        > Certainly that's gated by who the users are and the
        > nature of the software, but in general with software
        > built for frequent users we can expect understanding
        > of some basic UI behavior - and even count on it. In
        > a windows based application, I expect ctrl-c & ctrl-v
        > to copy and paste. I expect file-save to be in the
        > upper left hand corner of the UI.

        Yes, indeed, and we all must remember that we are the oddballs. The majority
        of users surfing with IE have no idea that you can ctrl-c & ctrl-v. For
        example, in a survey of customers of one B2C site, less than half knew that
        you could right-click with the mouse and nearly a third of those who knew
        "almost never" used the right mouse button.

        > I believe in _Software for Use_ there's some verbage
        > on delivering software to users using their own
        > language. The browser is fast becoming a tool used on
        > a daily basis by millions of people for wildly
        > different reasons. There's value in leveraging what
        > users know about browser usage. Understanding browser
        > usage is fast becoming part of the language of many
        > disparate user communities.

        The operant word is "leverage." You build upon past experience rather than
        become buried in it. Those millions learned to surf the Web; they were not
        born knowing how to use the back button. The trick is to make any added
        learning painless--both subtle and subliminal.

        --Larry Constantine
        Director of Research & Development | Constantine & Lockwood, Ltd.
        58 Kathleen Circle | Rowley, MA 01969
        t: 978 948 5012 | f: 978 948 5036 | www.foruse.com
      • Nuno J. Nunes
        on 09/09/00 02:44, Thomas Nunes at tnunes@snet.net wrote: Thomas and Jeff ... We re organizing a workshop on that subject at the forthcoming UML 2000
        Message 3 of 5 , Sep 11 3:46 PM
          on 09/09/00 02:44, Thomas Nunes at tnunes@... wrote:


          Thomas and Jeff

          > There is an interesting 3-part paper at http://www.uidesign.net that
          > discusses how to architect the MVC design on the server-side for web-based
          > applications. It uses statecharts to model the interaction or navigation
          > between pages, which I find to be an interesting approach. The first part
          > starts at http://www.uidesign.net/1999/papers/webmvc_part1.html . The third

          We're organizing a workshop on that subject at the forthcoming UML'2000
          conference. We hope to discuss a lot of related work regarding the use of
          the UML (and the different underlying diagrams) for interaction design.

          Take a look at some of the position papers that discuss that and other
          interesting subjects. URL at http://math.uma.pt/tupis00

          Nuno

          --
          Nuno Jardim Nunes
          University of Madeira - Teaching Assistant
          Mathematics Dep. - Computer Science Unit
          phone: +351 91 705160 (direct) 705150 (secretary)
          fax: +351 91 705199
          URL: http://math.uma.pt/njn/
          Address: Campus Universitário da Penteada
          9000 - Funchal - Portugal
        Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.