Understanding Capabilities

by Luke Wroblewski July 3, 2009

In a number of recent articles, I've been cataloging the capabilities of new consumer device product platforms with deep interest. One might wonder: why so many articles on the technology within smart phones, consoles, media players, and netbooks/pads?

It boils down to a simple mantra: know your medium. As a designer, understanding the capabilities of technology empowers you to deliver interfaces that empower people in new ways. It was this belief that lead Frank Ramirez and I to author Web Application Solutions: A Designer’s Guide more than 4 years ago (April 2005).

Web Application Solutions: A Designer’s Guide (PDF)

In the document, we compared some of the most popular Web application presentation layer solutions available through consistent criteria (deployment & reach, user interactions, processing, interface components & customization, back-end integration, future proofing, staffing & cost, unique features) and provided an overview, set of examples, and references for each. This guide helped us to better understand the technologies supporting our Web application designs. It was a way to better understand our medium.

Since the digital product design medium keeps changing, keeping up with capabilities is essential.