Defensive Design for the Web: How To Improve Error Messages, Help, Forms, and Other Crisis Points
Available Now ($16.99)
Subscribe to our free newsletter and receive updates on 37signals' latest projects, research, announcements, and more (about one email per month).
However, let’s proceed with caution. What we’re talking about is technology, not the user experience. Ajax-based apps certainly have the potential to produce a better user experience, but good experiences never come by default. Good experiences aren’t plugged in. Good experiences are crafted by thinking about people, not technology. We all know this, but it’s good to remind ourselves constantly. It’s easy to overlook the obvious.
One advantage of Ajax-based apps is that things can happen quickly without a reload. On the surface this is fantastic — and deep down it usually is. But it can also be confusing and introduce brand new experience problems. Things that happen too quickly can leave people wondering “What just happened?” And, since the web doesn’t have a standard “Undo,” the typical before-and-after undo/redo technique to spot changes won’t work.
One solution is to consider using techniques like our Yellow Fade Technique (which has found its way into 43things and the lovely Campaign Monitor). You can see the combination of Ajax and the Yellow Fade Technique in this Ta-da List video. I look forward to seeing other solutions bubble up.
As with anything, it’s not the technology that matters, it’s the proper application and the execution of that technology that counts. And most of all it’s how well we hide the technology. I’m very excited to see what comes out of this new movement. I’m looking forward to some stellar new web apps using Ajax and derivative tech combos.
But this new tech bundle is no different than any new technology — there’s going to be a lot to learn before everyone’s (developer and customer) comfortable with it. So, use wisely, not widely. At least not yet. There are a lot of issues that still need to be ironed out.
Here’s to learning something new! Here we all go!