The rich are getting richer

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The last twelve months have been tough, with many businesses and individuals struggling against the change in economic conditions. But while times have been tough, many of the most popular news items have also helped highlight inequalities.

From the expenses claims of errant MPs through to large bonuses for failed bankers, individuals in all areas of the UK have been surprised how – at times of hardship – the rich seem to be getting richer. And the web is no different.

At the same time as a change in economic conditions, businesses face a change in marketing and buying. More and more individuals are choosing to interact with companies through the web – and some firms are struggling to respond effectively.

At this time of new interactivity it pays to focus on the customer experience and with that to differentiate yourselves from the competition by the quality of the customer experience. Leading firms are responding by making sites increasingly interactive, rather than the passive click and refresh approach the web was born with.

Improvements in web technology and broadband access have overcome the limitations of the early days of the web where customer experience design focused heavily on performance because of the technology constraints. With these issues lessening the new age of interaction presents a plethora of means for collaboration and slow-moving companies now risk being left behind.

High-intensity web sites provide a much more responsive feel akin to desktop applications and also provide a range of communication tools. Click on to a an innovator’s site and your likely to have a range of ostentatious options, including speech response, chat/video messaging and animated forms.

However web trends come and go increasingly quickly; today’s Twitter is tomorrow’s Friends Reunited. I have seen the issue of page scrolling from being cool to being a huge design sin and back to cool.

Expect also a greater range of form controls being deployed as the basic HTML controls only provide lists, edit fields, text fields and buttons. Companies are now buying or creating their own widget libraries to enrich their palette of form controls, note the recent advertisements from confused espousing the ease of use of slider bars.

With richer experiences expect to see animated page transitions, windows/pages no longer to be square, more visualised data than text, multi-media experiences using sound and video.

So the rich are getting richer, the only question is when will you join them!

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