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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Designing for Ajax - Presentation

Update (07/24/06): You can now find my presentations at

Recently I have been giving a talk on Designing for Ajax. I have given the talk or variations of the talk at:
Tonight I had the opportunity to present this talk for the WebGuild hosted at Google and we had a nice turn out, lots of great questions and good discussion afterwards. The talk stems from a previous blog I wrote on Nine Tips for Designing Rich Internet Applications.

In the course of giving the talk I have now simplified it to 7 interactive design principles:
  • Keep it direct
  • Provide live feedback
  • Offer an invitation
  • Cross borders relunctantly
  • Create a light footprint
  • Show Transitions
  • Think in Objects
I do all of my presentations in Keynote, so to make it widely available and still contain all of the nice transitions and embedded sample movies I have encoded it as an interactive Quicktime movie file.

You can download a medium sized Quicktime version of the presentation here.

You should download it to your desktop as I don't want my host to have to suffer with streaming it. Also, the interactive (click to move through presentation) works better when downloaded.

The PDF version is also available here.

I will be giving this talk (or variations of the talk) in the next couple of months at:
  • CSU/Hayward (not open to public)
  • City College/SF (not open to public)
  • Oracle Brown Bag
  • Adobe/Macromedia Brown Bag
  • eBay Brown Bag
  • Adaptive Path/Austin
  • The Ajax Experience/SF
  • Adaptive Path/Amsterdam
  • SIGCHI.NL/Amsterdam
So enjoy. And hey and here is what I ask in return.
  • If you find other examples that illustrate the patterns I have in the presentation, feel free to
    • Tag the site in either or under the tag 'ypatternexample'. Add other tags as you see fit. Also, add a comment to tell how to see the feature or what your thoughts positive or negative are about this example
    • Or send me a link, snapshot or description via email at ajaxevangelist @ yahoo dot com
  • If you find good counterexamples, also tag them and not it in the comments.
As I understand it, the WebGuild will have a podcast available from the talk as well. So check their website for that update.

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George Papadakis said...

Great and pretty straightforward presentation Bill.

Well done.

Michael Moore said...

Hi Bill,
Last night was my first WebGuild meeting and it was well worth the trip from Marin.

I'm wondering if you've come across any patterns for UNDO. As web apps get more serious in data capture I'd expect users to begin to desire the ability to back out of their mistakes, as with desktop apps.

Thanks again for the great presentation.

Tobin said...

Any interest in posting the Keynote presentation itself for us Mac people? It'd be a lot smaller download for us, with better quality as well.

Marc Thouvenin said...

Hi Bill
Nice Work
but I can't download neither the quicktime nor the pdf. 404 error, just check if it is a temporary issue.
Best regards

Bill Scott said...


Undo is supported in the rich text editing models for Mozilla & IE (what you see in most blog editing software or email compose - gmail; ymail). Undo in text editing is a known entity, so no surprises there.

On the continuum from content based sites to full rich apps the undo model becomes more like the desktop model.

The wrinkle is that a lot of people actually think of the Back button as a type of UNDO.

There is a variation of UNDO when filtering for search results. It is actually like a "remove the set of filters that I have set". Not really an undo, but testing has shown that people think of it in that way.

This confuses the matter of when to use UNDO and when to support it in the back button. Don't have any tidy answers.

In a previous web app at a previous employer, we provided UNDO capabilities in modifying data in table cells. There we had a toolbar that was immediately above the table grid we were editing. One of the buttons on the toolbar was an UNDO. We also provided it on a right click contextual menu. In this arena the users were trained on the application so discoverability was not an issue.

Bill Scott said...


Yes, if you change the extension from .pdf to you will be able to download the keynote file directly.

Bill Scott said...


looks like it is working now, let me know if there is still an issue.