Web 2.0 Applications



Pattern 4: Rich User Experiences

When you want to create a Web 2.0 site, there is several things you should think about. I have already talked about Harnessing Collective Intelligence, Data is the next “Intel Inside” and Innovation in Assembly, and this week’s subject is Rich User Experiences. Rich User Experiences is about putting together the best sides of desktop programs and the best sides of online applications, so that you “steal” users from desktop programs to your online application. Google Docs is an great example of this. All the functions a normal user of Microsoft Word and Excel is using is available at Google Docs. The difference is that all you need is an browser, which means that you don’t have to download and install many different  programs, and you can reach your documents no matter where you are in the world (as long as you have an internet connection that is). You can also invite other people to interact with your document, at the same time as you are working on it.

Another good example is bubbl.us. Bubbl.us is a simple way to brainstorm online. You can “create colourful mind maps online, share and work with friends, embed your mind map on you blog or website, email and print your map and save your mind map as an image”. I have used bubbl.us myself in a school project, and it was really a helpful tool. It made our interaction simpler, and it really helped us create a good map over what we had to do and where everything where supposed to be.

Something you need to remember to think about is sharing and collaboration features. At bubbl.us you can add and invite friends, and you can share your sheets as either read-only or full access mode. It’s also very easy to share, you can just copy paste the link for the sheet, or use embed tags to show your sheet on your website.

You should also remember to think about usability, and in my opinion Bubbl.us is very easy to use, anyone with some experience with a computer can use this application. The technologies you use to create the application is very important as well, you have to think about the pros and cons. What is the best way to create this page so that it becomes powerful and fast? Bubbl.us is using Flash, AJAX, Prototype and Script.aculo.us. Whether this is a good choice of technology I have no idea, but as far as I can tell Bubbl.us is working all right.

Some of the features they are working on is real-time collaboration, a sheet outliner so that you can share your sheet with anybody and the ability to put your sheet up on a site-wide search, so that you can share ideas with everyone. This is three features I believe is very clever of Bubbl.us to add, since I believe it will make them even more handy and it will help them compete with other applications.

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