Web Application Design: An Introduction

By on August 1, 2007 9:54 am

These are truly exciting times. Not only for SitePen, but for the web application space in general. It seems we are seeing a seismic shift in the way we use computer applications: moving away from the clunky, static, boxed-installed lot to those that are quick, lightweight, flexible, and web-based. More and more we are building and using applications that are not tied down to one single computer. Web applications have allowed us a truly mobile lifestyle, giving and providing us access to all of our crucial – and not so crucial – information on multiple computers and devices at the touch of a fingertip.

So how do we go about building these applications? How do we take these web-based ideas and concepts and turn them into something people can use and enjoy? When building web applications, it is crucial to not only have the back-end functionality and nuts and bolts in place. You need the smooth curves, the chrome, and a consistent, uniform design to tie everything together. The design of an application’s user interface can be a make or break experience, one that determines if you and your organization have the next true “killer app”, or one that will languish in obscurity.

With the exception of MySpace – a monstrously eye-sored anomaly – you will find that most great web apps have a primary thing in common: great design. But what is great design? How can you get it? Where do you find it? What constitutes great design? I’m sure that most people will say that great design is something that “they know it when they see it.” Perhaps. But also just as important as the appearance – in fact more important – in the realm of designing web applications are things that most people might not think about. Things like feel, experience, and intuitiveness. These all fall under the design umbrella, and are central to the success of any web application.

Over the next few posts, we will explore these topics and get into more detail concerning the design umbrella. We’ll get our hands dirty and delve into feel, experience, and intuitiveness, and their importance in web application design.

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