I’ve just spent an evening on the Boxes and Arrows site, and I will need to spend many more there. It is a treasure trove of thinking on software design.
Amongst others, I read this piece by Uday Gajendar, What Does Rich Mean? A Deeper Look at the Rich Experience, and I’d urge anyone who is interested in user interaction to read it too.
If we take the term Rich Internet Application, quickly abbreviate it to RIA, and label it as the latest cool technology, we miss the power of the term rich. Rich is not about funky buttons but about a better, deeper experience.
And therein lays the great burden and hope of designing for rich experiences. As arbiters of human attention, designers must ensure there is not an overload of superfluous, gratuitous richness that distracts users or makes a product difficult to use. Recognizing that every digital product is a rhetorical moment amplified by expressiveness can enable designers to tap into the promise of rich experience: Intelligently crafted, well-intentioned acts of communication that are emotionally satisfying and sensibly organized to meet user goals, thus becoming something memorable and valuable. Ultimately, that is what richness is about—connecting to those core human qualities that define our goals, values, and attitudes for living.
If people spend a good portion of their day interacting with our systems, I think we at least owe them that.
I’ll also be reading Uday’s blog from now on.