Monthly Archives: March 2012

Rich User Experiences For The Win!!

This week’s blog, boys and girls is on the fourth pattern in Tim O’Reilly’s “Design Patterns and Business Models”

Firstly let’s cover the terms that will be covered in the blog. Rich User Experiences refer to the combination of GUI -style (Graphical User Interface) applications and multimedia content.

The overall value of the creation of a web based application that utilises platforms to give the user an experience similar to that of computer based application is a growing need in the world of Web 2.0. A collection of technologies that is integral and a key component to this type of experience is AJAX. AJAX which stands for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML is a collection of technologies used together to create a rich user experience.
When you hear the term Rich Internet Applications (RIA’s) they are referring to the web-based applications that have many features/characteristics of a desktop application which are generally hosted via a web page using different types of browser plug-ins such as Adobe Flash, Java and Microsoft Silverlight. The key element that makes these applications so successful is their ability to combine the best elements of a desktop interface with web pages which therefore generate a richer user experience not to mention a engaging experience that improves user satisfaction and increases productivity.
 

Gmail which is of course Google’s online email application facilitates a rich user experience similar to that of a desktop mail program, but with being accessible from anywhere and having strong database search ability. Created in 2004 With the design intent for web-based use, large storage space and a powerful search tool.

Another service that provides a rich user experience along with a powerful community of sharing and visual dialogue through a RIA is Flickr, a photo organizer, poster, and comment gatherer which was also started in 2004.

Not only is this used by users to share and embed personal photographs, the service is widely used by bloggers to host images that they embed in blogs and social media. Flickr is another perfect example of utilizing Web 2.0 to create a Rich User Experience. 

I myself cannot predict where the web will be in years from now, but one thing that is for sure is that Rich Internet Applications will only continue to grow and play a large role in forming the web.  In the not to distant future, I believe that there really will be no distinction between “browser based apps” and “desktop apps”, however I don’t believe one or the other will die or win, but more a mixture of both is what really makes the next generation of software compelling.

References:

O’Reilly. Tim (2005) Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software. Retrieved March 29th from, http://oreilly.com/pub/a/web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html?page=5

Ward. James (2007) What is a Rich Internet Application? Retrieved March 29th from, http://www.jamesward.com/2007/10/17/what-is-a-rich-internet-application/

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Innovation in Assembly

We live in a world that is growing so rapidly, with development proceeding at a astronomical rate, it’s not hard to believe that the world wide web that we all use so frequently is developing quickly too. These days’ large technology companies are allowing business and personal users the opportunity to customize their own websites and contribute to others like never before. Hence this is the concept of Innovation in Assembly.

Stop! Ok what is Innovation in Assembly!!! This notion is about the way in which Web 2.0 applications can be used as a platform to build on. Still don’t get it? Ok quite simply the main principle behind this core pattern is the concept of a organizations being to develop new and innovative ideas by modifying or building upon pre-existing ideas.

If you look at in these terms, why start a development application project from scratch when the hard work in development may have already been done, and your company can simply build upon the application and modify it to your individuals business needs.

The key benefits among the many that surrounds this platform strategy is allowing your business to get a more complete idea of how certain services are used and attached to other applications easily by using API. API??….Yet another confusing term… API is abbreviated for “Application Programming Interface” this is a process that is used to allow other developers to use the data and coding from one application on another.

Being the largest online video community on the planet which allows users from all corners of the globe to share and watch videos of various natures YouTube is a perfect example of Innovation in Assembly. Allowing contributors that can range from a teenager to a CEO of a major organisation and everything in between to upload their clips and share with others, as well as the ability to edit it on their YouTube page.

The way in which the YouTube API is an extremely effective method of Innovation in Assembly is the ability to let you integrate YouTube video content and functionality into your website, software application, or device. By building on an already well developed platform you harness the ability to control the YouTube player as well as how YouTube videos look on your site.

Costing $0 to use YouTube’s APIs, it is one of the easiest and most cost effective methods of using Innovation in Assembly to reach people. Additionally, there is always the added benefit of knowing that YouTube will continue to improve and add features as times goes on.

References:

Howstuffworks (2012) How to Leverage an API for Conferencing. Retrieved 23rd March from,http://money..com/business-communications/how-to-leverage-an-api-for-conferencing1.htm

YouTube (2012) What are the YouTube APIs and Tools? Retrieved 23rd March from,https://developers.google.com/youtube/

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“Data is the next intel inside”

In recent times, data has without a doubt become one of our most valuable resources in our everyday lives, not to mention to some of the biggest technology based companies on the planet. Due to this no matter which way you look at it data has become one, if not the highest priority for companies to protect and obtain at any cost.

Every day, clients, consumers, business and personal users from every corner of the globe are creating, obtaining and sharing valuable date online. It is through the use of Web 2.0 that people have been able to create a vastly growing global resource community to connect with each other and gain instantaneous information.

When speaking of large technology based companies that have had success in harvesting and gathering raw data, Google has been possibly the most effective. One method Google has used to gather data is through the implementation of a multitude of free services. Everyone from a personal to business user loves the concept of free services. Why? Because they are free…Google knows this all too well, and uses it extremely effectively to lure people to generate different types of data that they can find useful.

Without the mass range of data collected and stored over the years, these new services would not have been made possible!!

One of these services that Google uses in this way to gather data is Google Analytics. A relatively simply service that was implemented by Google in the later part of 2005, which allows you to record information on how people found your website, how many visited it on any given date, how they explored it, and ultimately how you can enhance the visitor experience. Thw overall draw point for this service being that your can improve your website return on investment long-term.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I would doubt any business trying to utilise their website as a selling point and a business grabber would not benefit from this data. The potential you business holds in its hands by having data compiled for you for free that gives you information on how your customers interact on your website is a very valuable resource. When used effectively your webmaster will have the tool in their arsenal to tweak and improve the website to withhold current as well as draw in new clients

However with all free services, generally there is a catch, especially when you’re dealing with a technology data hungry giant like Google. By using Google Analytics you are essentially giving Google access to data that comes from thousands of websites, giving them up to date information on the latest trends in the online universe of the web.

A rather interesting statement I stumbled upon in a Google Analytics case study, was by a Kintek web developer names James,

“If data is the next ‘Intel Inside’ then Google Analytics is the operating manual for websites operators trying to understand how to improve the usefulness and success of their site”

I think the main point to consider though; it is nothing new that Google’s ethics when it comes to privacy has been questioned in the past and even though Google clearly states that the data will not be used for their own benefits, unless you agree to the sharing of the data, they are always considerations when not having control of your own data.

References:

Google (2012) Privacy Policy. Retrieved March 18th from,
http://www.google.com/policies/privacy/

James (2009) Google Analytics Case Study – Data is the next ‘Intel Inside’. Retrieved March 18th from,
http://www.kintek.com.au/web-design-brisbane/google-analytics-case-study-data-is-the-next-intel-inside/

O’Reilly. Tim (2007) Google Admits “Data is the Intel Inside”. Retrieved March 18th from,
http://radar.oreilly.com/2007/12/google-admits-data-is-the-inte.html

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Web 2.0: Harnessing the Collective Intelligence

The social web allows for interaction and socialising among people through the World Wide Web. This can have its advantages and disadvantages. Arguably one of the biggest attractions that Web 2.0 provides is that the majority of it is free. One thing for sure is that through the use of Web 2.0 applications this can lead to the creation of meaningfully rich knowledge.

A set of basic patterns or characteristics of Web 2.0 were identified by Tim O’Reilly. For this weeks blog I will be focusing on the pattern: harnessing collective intelligence.

Collective intelligence is a shared or group intelligence that emerges from the collaboration and competition of many individuals from multiple sources. In a shared intelligence space users effectively use this pool of knowledge to create a vast collection of information. As the global accessibility and availability of the Internet this has allowed more people than ever to contribute and access ideas.

The emergence of these Web 2.0 technologies has opened the door to the concept of collective intelligence which plays a key and pivotal role in the social semantic web in harnessing this knowledge.

From all the various kinds of Web 2.0 technologies I have chosen to focus on Wikis due to their huge contribution to collective intelligence.

There any many wikis around the globe, but chances are the most common one, that most if not all of you have heard of and use on an every day basis is Wikipedia. Wikipedia is a massive online encyclopedia that is so large that it is commonly the top result that is returned in your browser search results.

 The use of Wikis is growing at a phenomenal rate due to the fact of the pure simplicity in which users find them to utilize. A wiki allows quite simply multiple people to enter and communally edit information which in turn can be viewed and edited by anyone who visit the wiki.

Although wiki’s can be very quick and useful for finding general knowledge answers and relevant information, the downside of the simplicity and the utter openness of a wiki cause many people to instantly reject the concept. Where does all the information come from? Is it reliable? What stops people from vandalizing a wiki until it dies? In fairness the information is not always reliable as virtually anyone can go onto Wikipedia and put up whatever they want. This means that people with no qualifications in a particular subject area can still write information about it.

 References:

O’Reilly. Tim & Battelle. John (2009) Web Squared: Web 2.0 Five Years On. Retrieved 9th March 2012 from,
http://gossgrove.com/sites/default/files/web2009_websquared-whitepaper.pdf

 Rogers. Clint & Liddle. Stephen (2007) Web 2.0 Learning Platform: Harnessing Collective Intelligence. Retrieved 9th March 2012 from,
http://scholar.googleusercontent.com/scholar?q=cache:luwEmX3B_akJ:scholar.google.com/+web+2.0+harnessing+collective+intelligence&hl=en&as_sdt=0,5&as_vis=1

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Welcome to my crazy little Web 2.0 World

Web 2.0 adds a social dimension to a set of technologies that have been pretty dull and has made them quite interesting and engaging.

I am equally interested in the technological changes that Web 2.0 will bring about.

In the coming weeks I will be discussing in my blog the impact of Web 2.0 applications and the changes they are bringing about.

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