Regular readers will know I have an interest in the user experience. Actually, it’s more like a passion - so, what’s next for web and user interaction technologies?
Gartner has answered that question in their recently released hype cycle paper on the next generation web (see further reading, below). The cycle itself raises some interesting issues and trends, not least the potential horror of ‘Web 3.0’ - which the analyst suggests could be an ambiguous and unhelpful term.
In other areas, Gartner is able to be more precise. The analyst recognises that the web continues to evolve along multiple dimensions, such as social, mobile, programmable and real time. Such developments are taking place outside and within the business, causing growth on an unprecedented scale.
Much work, however, still needs to be done. Too many workers at too many companies remain unaware of methodologies and processes that can be used to help improve the user experience.
Understanding the user is everything. Giving users the platform that meets their needs - and inevitably the power to tweak that platform via end-user computing - will sort the web-enabled wheat from the business chaff.
Once again, that is a trend recognised by Gartner. The analyst suggests that a series of trends, such as context-aware computing, the mobile web and the cloud, are of particular interest right now. However, it is their take on user experience platforms (UXP) that is most significant.
Early last year, I said I expected the pendulum to swing towards UXP in 2010 (see further reading). That foresight now looks spot on, with Gartner tagging the emerging concept of integrated technologies that help deliver user interaction in its hype cycle.
The analyst suggests the UXP is developing as a critical platform, which represents the convergence of presentation layer technology. It suggests the UXP helps provide consistency and integration, helping users to have a similar experience across multiple platforms. A UXP, in short, provides significant efficiencies.
Gartner suggests vendors have been slow to match demand and that the market will emerge through 2013. Some specialists, however, are ahead of the game - and the analyst’s hype cycle identifies edge IPK as a UXP vendor.
Once again, it’s nice to be proven correct and even better that our good work is recognised. My advice is to take a look at the UXP now; it’s increasingly a business necessity and you will be way ahead of your competitors.