Wednesday, May 10th, 2006

7 Reasons Why Web Apps Fail

Category: Editorial

<>p> Web applications are popping up faster and faster every day, and quite a few are using the power that Ajax offers to their advantage. They create sites with lofty ideas and ideas of the future that might need a little bit of grounding. Anyone that’s paying attention can see that there are just some practices that aren’t working, and are only leading to developers watching their applications flounder or fail. There’s theories all around about why this is happening, but one of my favorites so far is this list from Joshua Porter over on Bokardo.com.

His list, made up of seven different ideas, can be applied to just about any kind of web application out there, not just those using Ajax. For each idea, he talks briefly about what it means (not just for the developer, but for the users too) and ways that you can avoid falling into this pit.

He suggests the following:

  • Focus on social instead of personal.
  • They solve too many problems, or try to.
  • They’re about making someone other than the user happy.
  • They sell it the wrong way.
  • Not in it for the long haul.
  • They show too much of what’s going on, and get gamed.
  • They don’t have an underlying business strategy of improving people’s lives.

I know I’ve been guilty of the second option, hacking away at my code with these grand ideas of making a full-featured site up from nothing. The only problem – all the features in the world won’t be used if there’s no one to use them. Thankfully, there seem to be a few movements in place (like some ideas from the 37 signals folks) to encourage people in the direction of Joshua’s tips – make is simple, make it work, and make it useful.

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Posted by Chris Cornutt at 2:36 pm
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[...] His list, made up of seven different ideas, can be applied to just about any kind of web application out there, not just those using Ajax. For each idea, he talks briefly about what it means (not just for the developer, but for the users too) and ways that you can avoid falling into this pit. [...]

Pingback by 7 Reasons Why Web Apps Fail · Style Grind — May 10, 2006

I have often said that lack of focus is what will kill a web application and company for that matter. Great reference. It’s also good to point out that programmers should focus on the customer experience and not the programming technology that is hip and cool.

Comment by Mike Johnston — May 10, 2006

No serious applications can ever emerge with out a solid set of reusable GUI Widgets, which must offer higher-level abstractions that let focus on business logic at hand. Imagine writing desk top GUI without Windows GUI-API. Are you going to implement all the primitives yourself and include in the same functions that implement business logic?

This web page shows how one can build reusable Ajax GUI Widgets:
http://cbsdf.com/technologies/DHTML-Widgets/Widget-samples.htm

I am a Java developer. I ask Web developer is give me great GUI Widgets and I will build great GUI applications!

Comment by Murthi — May 10, 2006

Interesting Finds

Trackback by Jason Haley — May 10, 2006

no one is visiting your website long term because of its technology. your website needs a reason to exist. look at the websites you really rely on every day…how often is that reliance or interest technology-based? your website has to be compelling, and in the long term has to make money.

Comment by fartikus — May 11, 2006

[...] Following up his previous list, Joshua Porter has posted seven more reaons why web applications can fail in today’s internet environment. As will the first list, this list is by no means a complete account of every reason why a web app might fail. There are countless reasons, I’m sure, and most are part of a failing strategy and don’t do the damage all by themselves. I have focused on reasons made prominent by the current situation we find ourselves in: with extremely low barriers to creation alongside an explosion of social web applications. This combination is interesting and we’re seeing the evolution of social software in near real-time. [...]

Pingback by Ajaxian » 7 More Reasons Why Web Apps Fail — May 18, 2006

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