31 October 2006

The impact of Ajax on user experience

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Cindy Lu of HFE Consulting, a New Jersey-based user experience consultancy, just published an article on the impact of Ajax-based web applications on user experience.

While this first article of the two-part series looks at the positive impacts of Ajax on the user experience, an upcoming second article will address some of the problems.

“Ajax has been a hot topic since Jesse James Garrett coined the term and published the essay ‘Ajax: A New Approach to Web Applications‘ in February, 2005. Numerous Ajax-based web applications and development toolkits have been rushing to the internet in the past year. Web-based applications have become richer and more responsive, not only closing the gap with the desktop but also presenting new and fun ways for user-web interactions.”

“According to SitePoint and Ektron’s survey of 5,000 Web Developers ‘The State of Web Development 2006/2007‘, 46 percent of respondents said they will tap the AJAX model for a project in the next 12 months. Gartner estimates that by 2010, at least 60% of new application development projects will include the Rich Internet Applications (RIA) technology.

“If you are user experience designers (UXDs), usability practitioners or user interface developers, you should follow this new technology trend closely because Ajax is all about improving user experience. This article provides a brief overview of Ajax, the impact of Ajax-based web applications on user experience and recommends some strategies for being part of the technology wave.”

(The article has been published on the website of Apogee Usability Asia Ltd, a company based in Hong Kong, China which positions itself as “Asia’s leading usability research & consulting services provider”)

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