Apps vs Web sites

  • Apps need an appstore, websites do not.
  • Apps can make money pretty quickly, websites not so.
  • Apps have great UX, websites not so.
  • Apps have to be downloaded, websites work right away.
  • Apps need to be updated manually, websites can be updates as much as you want without having to bug the user.
  • Apps are about doing things, websites are about reference.
  • Apps have great word-of-mouth, websites not so.
  • Apps can speak with each other, websites not.
  • Developing an app is a pain, building a website is not; in fact, prototyping a mobile website is a breeze.

Josh Clark: Mobile web vs Native Apps summarised by Johnny Holland

Usable AJAX Web Applications

From: Anthony T. Holdener (2008) Ajax: The Definitive Guide, Sebastopol: O’Really

The usability of an AJAX Web application refers mainly to how easy the application is to navigate and manipulate, and how intuitive it is to the end user. If an application is usable, it is

  • Structured … organised in meaningful and useful ways. Related parts of a page are placed together and unrelated parts are separated, based on a clear model that the user recognises…
  • Simple… common tasks should be easy to accomplish. Communication between the application and the user should be basic in nature, avoiding technical and complicated language and jargon.
  • Tolerant … flexible in how they handle mistakes … allows for easy cancelation and backtracking of user submissions and navigation… gracefully handles incorrect user input, and does not break or produce errors from such cases. Most important, tolerant Web applications make every effort to prevent most errors from reaching the user, and instead make reasonable assumptions about user intent and act accordingly.
  • Reusable … reduces the amount of information the user needs to remember and rethink each time she reacts to a pge or control on the application. Consistent navigation tools, site structure, naming conventions, and so on allow the user to navigate the application without stopping to think about every action. Being reusable boils down to being consistent.
  • Receptive … of user feedback – whether it takes the form of criticism, suggestions, or praise. … A receptive developer (…) thinks about the user, and designs with that user in mind.

p. 141 – 2

You should follow these six principles when designing Ajax Web Applications:

  • Minimalist and aesthetic structure (Personal Comment: What is an aesthetic structure???) … An application’s structure is the most important aspect of its usability.
  • Flexibility and efficiency
  • Consistency
  • Navigation
  • Feedback
  • Documentation and Help

p. 148

You should ahere to the following four factors when designing an applications’s page layout

  • Balance
  • Density
  • Focal point
  • Consistency

p. 158

Social software elements

  1. Identity – a way of uniquely identifying people in the system
  2. Presence – a way of knowing who is online, available or otherwise nearby
  3. Relationships – a way of describing how two users in the system are related (e.g. in Flickr, people can be contacts, friends of family)
  4. Conversations – a way of talking to other people through the system
  5. Groups – a way of forming communities of interest
  6. Reputation – a way of knowing the status of other people in the system (who’s a good citizen? who can be trusted?)
  7. Sharing – a way of sharing things that are meaningful to participants (like photos or videos)

Gene Smith referring to work produced by Matt Webb and Stewart Butterfield

Creating Sign-Up framework

A sign-up framework is the set of information and resources we provide to people who are going to be signing up for our application.

    A sign-up framework must do the following:

  1. Clearly communicate the capabilities of the software
  2. Allow a person to decide if the software is right for them
  3. Answer any outstanding questions people have about the software
  4. Confirm or refute any preconceptions people have about the application
  5. Get people actually using the application to get stuff done
  6. Let people connect with any other people who they might collaborate or work with
  7. Give people an idea of the type of relationship they’ll have with you
    A sign-up frame may contain one or more of the following:

  1. An elevator pitch, a tagline, or some other pithy explanation of service
  2. Graphics or illustrations that show how your software works
  3. Carefully crafted copywriting that describes your software
  4. In depth feature tour or feature pages
  5. Video or screencast showing actual use
  6. Get people started using the software as early as possible
  7. Evidence of other people using your software successfully

Porter 2008, p.68/9