Over the last several months, we’ve been discussing with our clients the value of user experience. I’ve noticed a shift in our industry, one that I think is worth mentioning.
First, a bit of history. EffectiveUI started as a Flash development company – Me, Andy, Drew, Geoff, Jim, Sean, RJ; all were admiring our ability to write beautiful code in AS3. At some point (I think it was at the time they all decided to kick me out of the development team:), we realized that there was more to what we were doing – we were all uniquely focused on creating more user friendly software… a focus on the UI. The term everyone started using : rich Internet applications. We liked it better than “Web 2.0″, because it was more descriptive – and it made us believe that we were part of a more unique, niche movement of developers that loved well designed software. When we added Lance to the team, our eyes were opened wide to the power of designer/developer collaboration. “Rich” really meant all kinds of interesting things… brand consistent, animation, skip intro, emotive experience, high design, useful… etc.
But times have evolved, our customers have evolved.
I’m not saying that we have evolved beyond the features of the RIA platforms – I’m saying that all software will need to live up to the original RIA standard. The original standard was simply: “make software that is connected, engaging, and respects user adoption over technical integration” – something we are all now calling a “focus on user experience”.
Marketing buzz words have value. “Social Networking”, “Web 2.0″, “Semantic Web”, “Cloud Computing”, “Rich Internet Applications” – but they also all typically have a shelf life. I’m suggesting “RIA” has reached this point. All great software from now on will be “rich Internet applications”, so the term “RIA” has no meaning. It no longer adds any truly descriptive value to the conversation.
Imagine a hollywood director today pitching a movie simply on the idea that he would film it in color… We need to stop stop talking about RIAs as though they are novel and understand that all software needs to value user experience and the connected world.