Enough with the new words al-ready.” That was how Sean Voisenrecently ended a discussion about theburgeoning technology lexicon, which hethinks can only be explained as “a ploy to keep Merriam-Webster in business.” Voisen, who designs and builds Rich Inter-net Applications, web applications, datavisualizations, and what he calls “otherfun pieces of Internet-enabled software”for a living, is not a fan of “RIA” as a term.“Marketing gurus create new terminol-ogy like ‘RIA’ and ‘Web 2.0’ in order toforce people to engage in new conversa-tions without them dragging along theirbaggage of ingrained prejudices about what something isor is not,” Voisencontends. “They alsodo it – I am convinced– to make themselvesseem smart,” he adds. Voisen’s view is echoedby Ethan Eismann,the senior experiencedesign lead of AdobeThermo with Adobe’s XD team. He disagrees with “RIA” as a termfor two reasons: “First, because like allthings techy, it’s already obsolete andsecond because it’s limiting.”But Eismann admits that while he hates“RIA,” he also loves it: “I love it because it’snow such a part of the common vernacu-lar of web culture that when it’s used,everyone immediately understands that you are talking about ‘something betterthan primitive HTML websites.’”Its limiting factor as a term, according to Eismann, has to do with the two words“Internet” and “application.” Personally he prefers to use the acronym “RIE” – for‘Rich Interactive Experience.’Front-end engineering experts like Voisen and Eismann remind us that theemergence of Web 2.0 technologies andthe iPhone experience have shown thatgreat user interface design makes a big difference, that the era of what Eismanncalls primitive HTML websites is truly over, and that on the web the new priority is innovation and optimizing the User eX-perience (UX), whether that means experi-menting with JavaFX or AJAX or whatever.The tools and platforms that encour-age and support superior UX are becom-ing the pre-eminent tools for businesssurvival and success, and their numbersare growing all the time, as reﬂected by themushrooming success of the AJAXWordConference & Expo series – which in spiteof its name is now as much about Rich In-ternet Applications and Web DevelopmentFrameworks as about merely AJAX per se.The runaway success of Apple’s iPhoneis another clear indicator of the busi-ness and market-share power of superioruser experience in 2008. Anthony Franco,president of Effec-tiveUI, who keynotedat AJAXWorld in NYC,summed up theinﬂexion point very succinctly: “Last year,the overall demandfor RIAs outpaced thequaliﬁed supply chain.This trend will con-tinue in 2008. Whilelast year brought un-precedented growth inRIA adoption – especially by Fortune 500companies – RIA adoption in 2008 bringsa new onslaught of risks, rewards, chal-lenges, and opportunities for companiesof all sizes.”In the end – quite aside from whether you call them RIAs or RIEs – what mattersis not words or terminology but businessand the realities of enterprise computing.“RIAs are impacting the way that com-panies like eBay, Ford, Random House, Viacom, GE, Dow Jones, and NBC think about the Internet and desktop software,and are demonstrating how innovativethinking can completely change the way they do business,” according to Franco. Aspresident of EffectiveUI, he enjoys uniqueopportunities to see close up how Fortune500 companies are beginning to harnessRIAs and leverage them to improve theuser experience and boost the bottomline.Is your company doing the same? If not, why not?
RIAs or RIEs –
Call Them What You Will,They’re Here
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