UIConf: Web Application Types: Interview, Hub & Spoke, Hybrid

The following bit is from the Deconstructing Web Applications session at the User Interface 10 Conference. Hagan Rivers, the principle designer for Netscape browser versions 1,2,3 and one of the designers of 4, is talking about the different structures of web applications. She has talked about 3 major structures so far: Interview-based Apps Interview-based apps […]

The following bit is from the Deconstructing Web Applications session at the User Interface 10 Conference.

Hagan Rivers, the principle designer for Netscape browser versions 1,2,3 and one of the designers of 4, is talking about the different structures of web applications. She has talked about 3 major structures so far:

  1. Interview-based Apps
    Interview-based apps ask users for information in a linear fashion, often using “continue” and “back” buttons. She points out that these apps are good for gathering a large amount of information at once, with TurboTax as a common example. She points out that progress meters in interview-based apps are crucial, giving users a clear picture of where they are and how far they have to go. Interview-based apps are excellent for helping users make complex decisions.
  2. Hub and Spoke Apps
    Spoke and hub-based apps are those apps that show an overview of information (Hub) and a bunch of options to choose from (spokes). Think of it like a wheel with many spokes. Hub apps grew out of desktop applications. She points to calendar applications as classic examples. Users need to change the information on one of the dates and return to the main view when finished. Hagan also suggests that many hub apps can be combined to create more sophisticated apps.
  3. Hub/Interview Hybrid Apps
    These applications have characteristics of both hub and interview apps. Amazon checkout is the classic example. Entering addresses and credit card information are the interview part, while the review page and modifying pages are the hub/spoke part of it. Hagan suggests that these are the most difficult to get right, but probably one of the best when done correctly. For example, when folks complete the interview section of one of the apps, then go back to change a bit of information they previously entered, should they then be taken back through the rest of the interview, or should they be taken directly back to the review page? Lots of interesting questions like this pop up.

More to come…

Published: October 10th, 2005

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