Thursday, May 03, 2007

Why Grandma can use the Web : A cautionary note about RIAs

The RIA acronym is steaming towards the mainstream at the moment. The Royal Irish Academy, Robotics Industries Association etc. are all taking second tier extensional status behind the Rich Internet Application meme. At least in tech-land.

RIAs are great and I can see all sorts of powerful ways in which they can be used. But, but, but...please lets not forget Grandma

Grandma can use the Web. No problem. Point and click. Does Grandma's user experience increase or decrease in a world full of RIAs?

It could increase for sure but there is a clear and present danger that it will decrease.
Hugh Winkler writes:
    "...if you're not pushing a bunch of hypertext down to my browser, you're not helping me explore the space."

Thats a real important lesson we all should have learned by now. We all should be at least associate members of The Point and Click Preservation Society.

I am fearful though. Put powerful UI widgetry in the hands of developers and it will be used. The tragic, timeless triumph of presentation over substance.

Some day soon another TLA will need to be re-susitated. CUA used to mean "Common User Access". It was one of a number of initiatives to try to arrange matters so that Grandma could move from app to app, OS to OS without learning N*N application UIs.
Then the web happened, and it one powerful hyper click, the problem was solved.

Until RIAs came along :-)

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