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UX for Real Time Web Applications

31 Jan UX for Real Time Web Applications

AgilityFeat’s UX lead Mariana Lopez presented at the ModevUX conference in Washington DC in May 2014 on how to do interaction design for Real-Time applications. Here is the video from her talk – check it out to learn some best practices for your next real-time or WebRTC application.

If you would like a copy of the slides, see slideshare.

Here are Mariana’s key takeaways from the talk:

1. Don’t let the technology become more important than the experience.

Playing with cool new technologies can be a lot of fun, especially many of the cool real-time technologies that we like to play with here at AgilityFeat. But keep in mind that you are building something that should deliver value to users, not just illustrate cool technology.

2. Feedback is ALWAYS important

In a real-time app feedback is more critical than usual because users will be nervous about things like “is the app still connected? is the data fresh?”

3. Visual Hierarchy: Selecting when and how to show information.

Where you place data in a real-time application is crucial to its usability, or whether it just becomes a distraction.

4. Handling changes in a fast changing environment.

When changes occur, you need to let the customer know that data has been updated, but without disrupting their workflow of what they are trying to accomplish right now.

5. Identifying important micro-interactions

The little details here count a lot. Will a call be muted or un-muted by default? How will you make it easy for the user to know that?

6. Graceful degradation

If connection problems occur, the user needs to be made aware of that so that they don’t think the problem is on their end, or that the data source or person they are communicating with is not intentionally being non-responsive.

More on real-time applications

Mariana’s workshop at ModevUX was a lot of fun, but it was brief and really just touches on these design issues. If you’re interested in learning more about real-time applications, then you should check out our newsletter Real Time Weekly!

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