Please don’t make me create another Windows 3.1-looking business application (alternate title: A Gateway for Designing a More Intuitive and Inspirational User Experience)

I like using ASP.NET MVC. It offers increased testability where little existed before. Yay!


Where ASP.NET MVC falls short is the same place that ASP.NET still falls short. Javascript trickery and AJAX can only take you so far to creating a truly inspiring user experience (UX) with an ASP.NET-based front-end.

I read a post (sorry, I can’t find the post’s source any more) that linked frog design‘s sample business application user interface. Beautiful! Brad Abrams recently posted about a great user experience in a business application. I really liked the look of the application but what caught my eye most was the pinned notes feature on the right-hand side of the image.

If you think about it, existing procedure to display this type of information is to create a list control or table, maybe put a group-box around it, and list all the notes attached; likely with a hyperlink to a detail view of the individual note. Pretty uninspiring. The "pinned notes" view of the list is just a new and innovative way to display information in a way that doesn’t create as large a leap from the conceptual to concrete.

Yes, you can make this work in javascript; but not in a timely manner. Most javascript/controls frameworks/toolsets out there, usable within ASP.NET, simply take too long to be brought to market because the most significant portion of time is spent ensuring that things work cross-platform. This leaves less time for thinking about innovative ways to display the information and more time re-implementing the same old uninspired control, resulting in the same UX because we’re using the same 16 piece widget set that has served us in the past.

All this just leads me to believe that building UIs for web using technologies such as ASP.NET are destined to end up being relatively static when compared to a hosted environment. WPF and SilverLight are really my first gateways into this realization as I haven’t had much exposure to the LAMP, MAMP, or Flash development. Everything, professionally, has been WISC [Windows, IIS, Sql Server, C#] (I credit Dare Obasanjo with the first reference I have seen to this acronym).

It’s tools like SilverLight and Flash that take away all the issues with worrying about cross-browser-ability, that bring the User Experience(s) of the Future closer to implementation within business applications. They do bring the OS war to the web but I’ll prefer to drive the focus away from developers to users where the decision does not sacrifice development’s need for technologies that allow them to write verifiable (testable) applications.

One thought on “Please don’t make me create another Windows 3.1-looking business application (alternate title: A Gateway for Designing a More Intuitive and Inspirational User Experience)

  1. Another out of the box UX: Aurora Visual Design

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