This indian usability/ux blog attempts to bridge the gap between user requirements research & user interface design. Muthu is based in Bangalore, India & works in the xDesign team, Sun Microsystems Bangalore.
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Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Rise of the Web Browser

Web Browsers are slowly posing a serious threat to other Desktop applications! Features that were only possible on Desktop Applications are now, not only possible on Web Based Applications but also provide better User Experience. (Atleast in the Communications domain, says Prasant)

Gmail’s new Chat feature runs on the Browser & is integrated with Gmail contacts, address book etc. Users dont really have to launch a separate Desktop Application ( viz Yahoo Messenger) to Chat with friends. Great thinking there Google. Hope they’ve patented this innovation.

Yahoo Mail Beta seems to threaten the very existence of Microsoft Outlook. Thanks to their aquisition of Oddpost. While the Calendar intergration is yet to happen on Yahoo, think its just around the corner.

New Features in Yahoo Mail Beta

- MDI : Multiple Document Interface (Tabs)
- Table row item data is fetched only when the particular set of rows gets visibility.
This reduces the data load on the server but increases the no or requests on the AJAX engine
- On Mail Select, Yahoo Mail usese panes to display the entire mail content.
This is currently not possible on Gmail. Gmail only displays the first few words of the mail
- Contextual Display of System Status
- Reduced Latency
- Table Header Sorting without Page Refresh
- Back button takes you back to the previous tab :
- Right Click Menus
- Drag n Drop and so on and so forth

Suggestions for Improvement

- Consider introducing UNDO/REDO. May be in multiples
- Auto Save
- Right Click on an attachement to “Print” and E-mail (?)

- On Mouse Over URLs can display site preview
- On Mouse Over, date & time can display current appointments and also display a link to add new appointment

Microsoft Office Tools are their Cash Cows!
But for how long? Will there be a solid web-based alternative to Office Tools? May be these tools could be integrated with Internet Explorer.

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