BayCHI Panel on Rich Internet Applications (Aug 10, Palo Alto)

For the past few months, we have been doing some work with Rich Internet Applications (read Jon’s blog to learn about more about our experience with RIA’s. I am personally convinced that RIA’s are here to stay. Among other things, working on the design of such systems is such a pleasure after the ridiculous hoops and jumps one has to go through in building a decent web app UI in HTML. I am curious as to why this issue is not being discussed more in the CHI community. Not finding a good talk or panel on the topic, I decided to organize one.

If you are in the Bay Area, come by to Parc, Palo Alto on August 10th for a panel I am chairing: Reading the technology tea-leaves: Is a Rich Internet Application in your future?

Panelists are Mike Sundermeyer from Macromedia, David Temkin from Laszlo Systems (replacing Sarah Allen), and Jim Hobart from Classic Sys. Watch out for more panelist announcement! I will be chairing the panel.

We have another panelist! Someone from Oddpost (recently acquired by Yahoo) will be participating in the panel to talk about their RIA approach.

I plan to raise several issues related to the technology, design, usability and business need for RIA’s. For example, the different technology platforms: Flex, Laszlo, the DHTML apporach (a la Outpost and Gmail), the upcoming Longhorn (XAML) approach, and other platforms such as Nexaweb, XUL etc.

Secondly, what do RIA’s mean for users who have become accustomed to the page-centric HTML model. Are such applications confusing? What about issues related to the back button, amd a “submit” or “save” button? What are the usability issues that arise with such applications?

Richness of visual design. As someone passionate about interface design, I welcome it. But do users really care when its a visually rich interface? What are design strategies for such applications?

And the dreaded ROI (return on investment) question. Is there a business need for such systems? Have customers who moved to an RIA seen ROI for their systems?

Can you think of any more issues we should discuss during the panel? Please list them as comments here or send a trackback.

5 thoughts on “BayCHI Panel on Rich Internet Applications (Aug 10, Palo Alto)

  1. Panel update: David Temkin will be replacing Sarah Allen on the panel. David is also from Laszlo Systems. David has some very interesting ideas about Rich Internet Applications, and it should be fun to have him on the panel.

    I am still pursuing two more panelists who would flavor to the panel. Will post an update when I am able to share more.

  2. Do you plan to raise the issue of accessibility at all? Most of the RIA approaches tend to break down when it comes to accessibility.

  3. Hi Rashmi,

    I’m deep into RIA at the moment and I have a thousand questions about overall usability and usability evaluation of RIAs.

    I’d love to hear what you learn from theses panels, specially the answers to the questions you are going to ask.

    If you have time to include another one, please ask them if they have used heuristic evaluation to access problems in RIAs and how they have put the evaluation together + what kind of heuristics seem to be unique to RIAs.

    Cheers! :)

  4. Have you seen the Boxes and Arrows article on heuristics for RIA’s. It basically takes existing heuristics and adapts them to RIA’s.

    I think this approach misses a lot of the challenges and opportunities that one faces while designing RIA’s. The interaction can be so much richer, that inevitably there is more opportunity to screw up.

    I will raise the heuristics question.

    I am also very interested in interaction design patterns. What are some interaction design patterns that work?

  5. Thanks Rashmi.

    That article was what got me interested in the heristic evaluation for RIAs. My gut tells me there are some usability-related issues to RIAs that are not identifiable through heuristic evaluation. I’m trying to access what they are and then figure out how they could be evaluated.

    I think ‘ID patterns’ is one aspect of that. I have just started working with RIAs and would love it if you could point me out to references, specially usability-related.

    I’ll be looking forward to what you learn during the panel. Hopefully we can carry this discussion on? (through a list perhaps?).

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