Thursday, March 15th, 2007
>We have been talking about how the desktop and web experiences are converging, and Jeff Atwood is asking Are Web Interfaces “Good Enough”?
His example is ÂµTorrent, and how the new web UI is so similar to the downloadable version:
After spending about a year interacting with ÂµTorrent exclusively through Remote Desktop, I was pleasantly surprised to discover how good the web UI is. It aggressively exploits the latest Ajax techniques to replicate most of the rich GUI functionality of ÂµTorrent in a browser. But the web UI is still a pale shadow of the full-blown Windows UI. There are small but important details missing throughout, and part of the pleasure of using ÂµTorrent was luxuriating in its intense attention to detail, its wealth of well-designed data readouts. Using the web UI is like drinking watered-down beer. It doesn’t satisfy.
So he asks, does it matter? Does it matter if the attention to usability detail is no longer there in web apps, as long as we can “get the job done” and are still reasonably usable? This is a common theme in web apps…there are analogies with the online office apps and image editiors. The usability is actually decent in most of these apps…it’s just that they miss some of the little details that help make users passionate.
He also has some comments on Flash versus Ajax. Where Bruce Eckel argues the future of many web apps is Flash, Attwood says: