Web App Summit: Moving Towards Delight

by Luke Wroblewski January 21, 2007

Jared Spool’s keynote kicked off two full days of Web application fundamentals and future directions at the UIE Web App Summit in Monterey, CA. Here’s some of what Jared had to share:

Web Application Phases

  • First phase of Web-based applications: focused on building self-service applications to reduce workloads, increase efficiencies, and more. Companies were “turning the customer service workstation around”.
  • Second phase of Web-based applications: extended company services with features like: airline check-in online, buying movies tickets online, pick up e-commerce purchases in store.
  • Third phase of Web-based applications: enhancing the experience with social networking, creativity enabling tools, and immersive features. Examples include: amazon reviews, myspace, google docs, ebay, lulu, etc.

Evolution of Design focus

  • Stage I Talking Horse Stage: Pure function is all that matters. If the one thing it does is the only option available, people will be happy with it.
  • Stage II Feature Battles: The number of features matters because frequently the buyer doesn't understand what each feature actually means. Later in this phase, specific features do make a difference as people are looking for certain features to make their purchase decisions.
  • Stage III Experience Wars: The experience and total cost of ownership matters most. In this stage, products with fewer -but better- features will trump the more feature-laden winners of Stage II.
  • Stage IV Commodities: The actual item becomes absorbed into a larger product mix. Individual features of the technology no longer matter, but become an price/performance issue for the integrator.

Future Directions

  • More interactive technologies (flash, ria, apollo)
  • More focused on experience (move away from the browser)
  • More instances where entire business models are built around a Web application