May 10, 2007

Are you RIA technology agnostic?

Filed under: RIA, UI, user experience, web — Andy Braxton @ 9:56 am

I’ve just been sent (thanks JBB) an interesting demo of a Silverlight (WPF/E) application called Top Banana. It looks quite powerful and has an interesting UI design.

There are live examples of video editing applications in Flash – Jumpcut and AJAX too – Eyespot.

I believe in designing (as far as is possible) not for technology, but rather taking a user-goal driven approach to design. So I’m fairly agnostic towards choice of technology. One wonders though how much traction can be gained by Microsoft with Silverlight, when Flash has been around for so long, and how long it might be before one could say that developing design solutions with Silverlight is viable in terms of internet user penetration (it may have other viability issues such as accessbility – anyone know about this yet?).

Having said that I’m agnostic to technology it does seem that our developers here at LBi have preferred technologies for specific design solutions. A more rich graphic display, using complex animation is approached with Flash, whereas interface mechanics are coded in javascript. I could be grossly generalising there but thats the vibe I get. The key for me is to approach the experience and interface design with a no-plugin or no-script version in mind, ie attempt to design these versions alongside your rich versions. This makes designing accessible solutions more involved and creative, as well as keeping timelines realistic. However, in a world with such varying technologies as RIA, how far should technology be a consideration in the user experience concepting phases and in the interaction design of rich and non-rich versions?


1 Comment »

  1. The issue of penetration is an important one, since that’s pretty much the premum mobile of the software platform market. It also has a lot to do with context. For example, I fired off an angry note to the British Library today, asking them why their new Turning The Pages application can only be run by users with Windows Vista. For a (partially) publicly-funded body to do this is pretty poor – and if it’s in the service of an advertisement for Microsoft, it’s even worse!

    Comment by Jonathan — May 10, 2007 @ 2:27 pm

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