Improving Web Apps User Experiences

Status

This is a draft, work-in-progress analysis derived from the “Closing the Gap with Native” Headlight task force.

Introduction

To compare the various existing mobile apps development approaches, two main perspectives can be taken:

This document, based on the analysis of how Web apps currently fare from a user experience perspective, discusses some possible actions that could be pursued to reduce Web apps weaknesses and increase their existing advanages.

See also the framework to compare mobile apps development approaches from a provider perspective.

Improving Web Applications User Experiences Action Plans

These are very sketchy ideas that need to be further developed and turned into concrete action plans if and when they're deemed appropriate.

Discovery and acquisition

Searching an app

Increase searchability of apps through better metadata

Reaching an app from physical artifacts (ads, paper magazines, TV screen, product labels)

Enable over the air discovery for Just-in-time interactions

Reaching an app from on-line interactions (social networks, on-line reviews, etc.)

Promote best practices of URI management for client-side apps

Paying for an app

Enable simple payments on the Web

Downloading an app

Authorizing an app for special privileges

Finding on device and launching

Locating the app launcher

Get browsers/OS vendors to simplify integration of Web apps in OS apps list

Starting the app

Waiting for the app to be ready to use

Intuitiveness and ease of understanding

Adopting familiar user interfaces

CSS should provide some level of system UI integration?

Adopting familiar user interaction patterns

Guiding the user


Smoothness and responsiveness

Navigating through views provided by the app

Interacting within a given view of the app

Obtaining content from the network

Pushing content to the network

Adaptability to user access requirements

Making the user interface flexible to different user requirements

Automated or semi-automated testing tools?

Integrating with the accessibility services on the device

[further analysis required]

Sensitivity to context

Determining the context in which the user is

Any critical sensor missing (indoor location via WiFi id? BT4?)? Can we build a more generic sensor API that doesn't work against the user privacy?

Notifying the user of a context-relevant information

Personalization and privacy

Gaining access to private data

Web Intents-like solution?

Protecting user privacy

Immersivity and focus

Managing the whole screen space

Fullscreen API to the rescue?

Separating UI from other apps

Make it possible run Web app fullscreen, in separate browser instance?

Ease of returning to once launched

Finding quickly the list of already launched apps

Waiting for the app to be re-activated


Getting the app back in the state it was left

[Investigate further which states are hard to restore]

Ease of obtaining additional features

Paying for an add-on

Enable simple payments on the Web

Downloading the add-on

Enable large download optimizations

Authorizing the add-on for special privileges


Ease of maintaining

Updating an app


Retrieving locally stored app data

Filesystem API?

Removing an app


Purging an app configuration and stored data


Ease of cross devices usage

Locating a compatible version of the app on the various devices

Reduce incompatibilities across devices

Acquiring (possibly with payment) the app on these devices


Getting the content / configuration of the app synchronized across devices

Making the app work on several devices at the same time