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Design Considerations for Web-based Applications Sunday, May 28, 2006

Posted by VoeD in Articles, Design.

I've never heard of the term Weblications before this article by Luke Wroblewski & Esa M. Rantanen:

The rapid growth of weblications—application-oriented software delivered as a service over the Web—has revealed a lack of effective guidelines for their design and implementation. Existing Web usability guidelines hinder weblication usability since they are primarily based on interactions within a browsing metaphor. Interface design guidelines for client applications, on the other hand, do not address the conventions of Web users, limitations of the Web environment, nor the new possibilities inherent in the Web. This paper outlines a set of guidelines for weblication interfaces, which fuse translated client-application guidelines and re-purposed Web usability guidelines together to form a solid foundation for weblication interface design. The goal of these recommendations is to address the issues associated with weblication interface design and to present an overall method for thinking about them, emphasizing an understanding of how and why this approach should be adopted.

Although a summary cant do real justice to the article, Id like to just list down the principles mentioned in the article here. Actually, the article mentions some other interesting points on the relation between Web-based terms and that of Client application terms, the limitations as well as other issues before having to list the following guidelines. The article (or paper?) does a great job at addressing its thesis and fulfilling its abstract in making that connection between Web usability guidelines and client application interface design guidelines. I must remind myself to read this article again when I actually get down to the actual design of the project.

  1. Open the browser window in which weblication interaction occurs to full screen size.
  2. Minimize the use of windows.
  3. Make the windows' content visually dominate window borders.
  4. Use constant values for fonts, tables, and other visual elements.
  5. Use rollovers.
  6. Use ALT-overs when the immediacy of a rollover is not needed.
  7. Avoid double clicks.
  8. Use the conventions of link selection in web.
  9. Use inherent functionality of visual elements.
  10. Use both saturated and unsaturated link colors.
  11. Use underlined fonts as hot-spots.
  12. Use pull-down menus, radio buttons, and checkboxes as utilized online.
  13. Use plug-ins and frames as tools for weblication design.
  14. Use motion cues and animation as a feedback mechanism.
  15. Use common functionality between a weblication and web browsers.
  16. Exploit the similarities in the basic functionality of all weblications.
  17. Utilize the resource potential of the web in the design of a weblication.
  18. Manage time and workflow within a weblication.
  19. Consider the aesthetic integrity of the interface.


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