Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes

Is what Oscar Wilde once said but what would he say of Web 2.0’s pattern of rich user experience; surely not a mistake?

For those not in the know I am talking about O’Reilly’s fourth pattern of Web 2.0 and what it is. So what is it? Well its rich user experience. So what’s that exactly? Well in its simplest form it’s the movement from static web pages to dynamic web applications, from desktop software to web-based and mobile software as a service (SaaS), it is a smooth and fluid online experience and it is almost everywhere you go on the web today, (as opposed to up to ten years ago where the desktop was your only option for fast and fluid software and webpages took forever to load and input data).

So where do most people go on the web today? (because obviously this would have to be somewhere that fosters rich user experiences). Well it’s Google according to Alexa’s topsites rankings, but that’s not fun, so let’s go with number two: Facebook.


The Facebook Logo

Facebook capitalises on all the opportunities rich user experiences provide. It doesn’t require a fat client to provide services and data (see Rojer’s problem with his work windows application), it’s collaborative unlike a classic application (in aspects; think tagging photos, commenting, creating events, chat). It could be more collaborative but for now let’s say it has some aspects of collaboratively), and it takes advantage of lightweight (and mobile) browsers by allowing drag and drop (think menus on your sidebar and the notifications pane) and full rich media. This is achieved through the magic of AJAX or Asynchronous Javascript and XML. Where this is powerful is in the asynchronousity as Majumder explains, “The asynchronous part of the concept means that page reloading is not involved, so your program performs more like a desktop application”.

HTML5 is also supported by Facebook (just browse here from your mobile browser) which is the next step in mobile rich user experiences as Taylor notes, “By developing your mobile Web presence with next-generation HTML5 technologies,  brands will deliver users a rich, app-like experience across all major mobile operating systems.” I wrote earlier about first having to have a data strategy and then now a platform strategy; now with HTML5 we are seeing the need for businesses to have a mobile strategy. How will they take advantage of the benefits that HTML5 provide? Will they take advantage in time? (And if you’d like to know more about the technical benefits of HTML5 have a watch of the comprehensive video below).

Introduction to HTML 5

As for the application itself, Facebook, has had scalability problems as Campbell explains, but overall the service has shown very high performance and subsequently high user satisfaction rates. Searching on the site is quick and precise with predictive searching. This means of accessing content in an unstructured way is part of the best practices of the rich user experience pattern. It is an odd thing to think but could Facebook ever have existed as merely a desktop application? What do you think?


Campbell, S. (2010). How Does Facebook Work? The Nuts and Bolts [Technology Explained], from http://tinyurl.com/yen3g6e

Denne, R. (2012). Elbo.ws is the Next “Intel Inside”, from http://tinyurl.com/88fcse5

Denne, R. (2012). My thoughts on what is Web 2.0, from http://tinyurl.com/82ly8zg

Majumder, P. N. (2009). What is AJAX, Web 2.0 and Open Source?, from http://tinyurl.com/6wx7zwr

Neuberg, B. (2009). Introduction to HTML 5, from http://vimeo.com/6691519

Taylor, J. (2012). Five Reasons You Should Build Your Mobile Site With HTML5, from http://tinyurl.com/7agwjrb

Rojer. (2012). Migrating a Windows Forms Application with SQL Server back end to Silverlight, from http://tinyurl.com/88a88mq

Wilde, O. (1885). Quote, from http://tinyurl.com/c4l6e5