5 x 5 on the Edge with James McCutcheon

Oct
26
2009

Edge of the Web 2008

Last few weeks have been a little busy here, returning from conferences, dealing with the project backlog, and preparing for my Edge of the Web talk.

Moving on now with my fifth and final interview in the 5×5 series with speakers from the Edge of the Web conference (that’s just over a week away) , this time I’m talking with James McCutcheon. James is presenting on Why the web doesn’t have an edge anymore, he is a self confessed leader in Microsoft development community with a passion for windows mobile and a serial entrepreneur .

MWNB:
At the Edge of the Web you will be talking about the blurring of the traditional boundaries. On the web we have seen the development of all sorts of dynamic user interfaces over the years; some revolutionary and some that are better of being left to history.  Still there has been a distinct increase in usability online. With SaaS we are seeing a rapid response to our user requests and increased functionality delivery. Given this, do you think that the web has had a large influence on people’s lack of tolerance for bad desktop software, resulting in an increased pressure in the desktop software development arena?
James:
I believe both platforms have influenced each other, the rise of ajax & javascript is a response to the need to give desktop user experiences on the web. Of course a html browser is flawed application platform so we are now starting to see products like Silverlight and Flex address this need. The designers have made their mark on the web world and now customers expecting that influence to be on the desktop world, no longer is grey and blue UI acceptable.
MWNB:
With the increased focus of late on gestural interfaces, and now with even a mouse with a tactile interface, do you see these as becoming common place in the future or are they just going to remain on the fringe of the tech community like say the PC graphics tablet.
James:
The home PC is morphing and no doubt with it will be the interaction interface will change, the simplicity is the killer application feature. I am sure we will see better interaction methods than keyboards.
MWNB:
Still on the theme of gestural interfaces, there has been a lot of debate over the lack of any tactile feedback of the current crop of flat panel interface devices. I have heard there is some development going on with the use of soft touch surface devices that can provide tactile feedback. What’s your take on this?
James:
I personally never miss tactile feedback, but a lot of people do so I am sure when it works there will be a lot of rejoicing but I don’t really believe that its there or not influences heavily on peoples buying decisions.
MWNB:
Just when we have got out heads around the desktop, the web and the mobile platforms, we are now facing the prospect of a fourth player in the form of Augmented Reality (AR) entering the interface arena. I’ve always wanted one of those 3D holo-keyboards, so tell me am I going to get my dream, or am I going to be disappointed?
James:
The addition of a digital compass in devices has seen this space grow rapidly, it is a useful interface for a particular style of application … I don’t think you will be disappointed I think the next 12-24 months will see some great advances in this space.
MWNB:
With the market segment for smart phones still only being in the hands of the tech geeks, the under 30’s and the early adopters is there really a point in developing mobile web sites for a mainstream  audience, beyond the usual simple site? Particularly if you consider that the bulk of mobile phones used within Australia don’t support a reasonable user experience for web browsing. In that they are aging WAP handsets, with a screen resolution of around 128px x 128px.
James:
Yes the mobile web world is only for a small vocal part of the community, but its a growing one and yes it will become mainstream. It then of course becomes a business decision of being early and stake your turf or try and catchup at a later date. I think with the right architecture and design this doesn’t add a massive overhead and worth staking that early spot on the mobile web world.
MWNB:
Thanks James, See you at the Edge of the Web

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2 comments

  1. Interviews like this make me more enthusiastic about technology and the future of the web, although they do make me wonder about where standards will go from here. When everyone has a different cell phone, and some people use gestural interfaces and some don’t, how will web and UX design change? And how do we know which technologies to support and which to shelve for later?

    P.S. Google Reader recommended your blog to me. May I ask whether the fish on the side means anything? 🙂

  2. Hi Madeline, thanks for the comment, the fish is a Tuna, I’m CannedTuna or Tuna on a lot of social networks, hence the fish.

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