Build a successful web application.
One presentation that Robert Hoekman Jr. gave still remains as a cornerstone presentation for the entire web design community. This blog is a distillation of his thoughts, ideas and the presentation as a whole.
The core theme of the presentation that Robert gave was about designing a perfect web application. Mind you, a website and a web application are not one and the same. So, the basic elements that sets them apart will also be quite different. You cannot design a web application like designing a website. They are distinct entities and have separate purposes of their own.
Here is what Robert laid down as the essential elements of a successful web application.
Focus on the activity
User interviews, questionnaires, surveys, etc. all head the wrong direction. Not because of the motive, but because they make users to think deliberately and come up with responses that they would not have thought of naturally.
The best way to design a good web application is to focus on the activity that the user performs and not on the way how they want it. Most often, users are unaware of the actual feature or option that they want. It can only be shown by following their activity and rethinking it from a different perspective.
Stick to the necessary features
Useful applications have a common feature. They do one thing, or at the max few things in the best fashion possible. Web applications that have too many features only confuse users and turn them into mindless activities. It is best to keep distractions to a bare minimum.
Design to have only the basic essential features in place. Avoid complications that are not relevant to the web application. As a thumb rule, slice away features that do not either add value to the application or help users do something in a better way.
Make design intuitive to understand
Don’t make things the web application difficult for the users to understand. Web applications that require users to climb mountains to get used to or require special effort to learn can be a huge turn off.
If you can make the design of the web application intuitive, easy-to-use and without the need for any hand holding, that would be a well-designed web application. The design should be made in such a way that users know what is happening in return to their every single action.
Design to be mistake-free
Nobody likes mistakes. Nobody has the time to experiment. Everybody wants things to happen smoothly, swiftly and in a perfect way the first time itself. That is why the design by default should be crafted to weed away any mistakes that can possibly happen.
For instance, a product being allowed to added to the cart when it explicitly shows stock-out. Mistake-proofing your website will make it easy for users to make the right choices. As a result, they will make fewer mistakes thus become capable of making the most out of the web application.
Remove the clutter
Clutter is anything which gets in the way between your web application and the user. By clutter, we mean the unnecessary actions, design elements and features that are not necessary. Piggybacking on the aforesaid point of sticking only to the basic features, you also need to ensure that anything which can take away the minimalist feel of the application should be done away with.
While building the web application pay attention to having a consistent feature set and experience that users will get used to. Remember Steve Jobs and his fanatic obsession to minimalist design? That minimalism is that made Apple’s product a notch above its competitors. The same design philosophy needs to be applied to your web application too.
Take security seriously
As much as computers and anything digital, web applications are also prone to cyber security attacks. In fact, the reliance on cloud computing and emerging technologies makes web applications increasingly prone to cyber security attacks.
That shines the spotlight on cyber security measures. Every organization, every web application and everything that interacts with customers in some way or the other should be secure from all corners. For websites, there is SSL certificates. By installing Wildcard SSL Certificate, you can secure primary domain and subdomains of website. With just single certificate, you can secure website that saves time and money.
The way forward for web applications
Web applications have transformed beyond their initial identities. Still, the way users interact with web applications have not changed much. They still the applications they use to be fluidic, easy-to-use and without any clutter. Any web application that helps the user solve their problems is a surefire successful one. Others that are bloated with unnecessary features that add no value fail to strike a chord with customers.
These design tenets that we have listed out above should help you know the right way of building web applications. Be it for enterprise use or for lifestyle purposes, these tenets should help you build a successful web application out of an idea.