Today’s topic of the blog will focus of the 4th pattern in Tim O’Reilly’s “Design Patterns and Business Models”

First of all, I will start by defining this pattern. Rich user experience means that applications are more pervasive, dynamic, and interactive. Rich internet applications (RIA) work more like desktop applications than traditional web applications as for example webmail and static mapping applications. This is enabled by new technologies, such as Ajax and Adobe Flex. RIAs show the states of the application and the progress of the tasks better than these traditional web applications. RIAs also have faster response times.

Now, I will talk about Ajax and Adobe Flex technologies. Ajax stands for Asynchronous Java Script (Ajax) is not a new technology, but it is a combination of already existing web technologies such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript and XMLAjax technologies have been said to make web faster, more interactive, and more user-friendly. Ajax engine, which works synchronically between the server and the user, enables refreshing only parts of the web page. Refreshing is done dynamically and in real time, and Ajax engine reduces the number of queries from the server because the whole web page does not need to be refreshed. It is also possible that the page does not need to be refreshed at all after user action because JavaScript is already downloaded before the page can be used, and that is why some actions can be completely performed on user’s computer. For example Gmail’s user account page already includes all the information that different user actions, such as reading new mail, require. The reduced number of server queries speeds up the use of the web pages.

Ajax enables more interactive user actions, such as the drag-and-drop of user interface elements. Ajax also enables mashups and dynamic information gathering. Many Web 2.0 companies and web sites are exploiting Ajax even though its usability has been studied very little. Typical applications using Ajax technology include Gmail, Google Maps, iGoogle and Flickr.

Now, I will expand on the service that is using Rich User Experience pattern. Google’s mapping application Google Maps includes the world map. With Google Maps it is possible e.g. to search for places and routes on the map. Ajax technology enables e.g. moving  the map with drag-and-drop method and zooming the map by using the mouse wheel. With  Google Maps it is also possible to move the route on the map by drag-and-drop method. The map can also be moved with the help of arrow buttons and zoomed by clicking the zooming axel or by double clicking the correct place on the map.


Tim O’Riely. (2005). Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software 

Annika Valtari.(2009). Web 2.0 User Experience: Social Media and Ajax Technology

Donna Maurer. (2006). Usability for Rich Internet Applications

Becky Gibson. (2006). AJAX Accessibility Overview