Thursday, 18 March 2010

Microsoft Mix 10 – designing Modern Web Apps

My current project is based around an interactive application delivered over the Internet to both full screen browsers and mobile devices with small form factors. Of key importance to the business plan is that the application be easy to use, and be capable of use by citizens who are not necessarily computer literate. (It’s also going to be delivered via Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform – but that’s another story).

As the product is being built with Microsoft tools, I’ve been up early this week watching the videos from the sessions given at Microsoft’s Mix 10 event in Las Vegas (you need to have downloaded or streamed the videos before the east coast of the US wakes up – from about midday onwards the response is very, very slow).

There is a lot about technologies not strictly relevant to my current project, but out of the Azure and Web Apps presentations I’ve seen to date, the best has been from Luke Wroblewski (not an MS employee) on the topic of Modern Web Form Design. In summary, Luke describes how to use modern web technologies/tools to deliver better end user experiences, and illustrates his talk with results from research into the end user acceptance, and use of, tools/techniques such as in-line validation, AJAX accordions and other such tools aimed at providing a better end user experience.

If, like me, you have an interest in this area (and would like to learn more about the methods to adopt in building web apps for small form factor mobile devices), then I thoroughly recommend the video (although be advised that it is over an hour long, just).

P.S. For those who want to know more about the Azure cloud computing platform at a fairly high level, then I recommend a Lap around the Windows Azure platform (although, yet again, this is about an hour long). This demonstrates the ease with which apps can be deployed to the cloud – although I can’t believe it’s as easy as the demo……

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