AjaxWorld Keynote with Jesse James Garrett

Conversations with Jeremy Gellan
Had a brief converastion with Jeremy Gellan the conference organizer. Thank you Jeremy and Ajax World organizers for the press pass. As the caretaker of this growing ecosystem, he’s held conferences in New York, Europe, and will expand as the industry does.

Keynote Speech: Jesse James Garrett

Thought Leadership
Reflects on his initial Elements of User Experience diagram which evolved into the book of the same name. Also the founder of the Visual Vocabulary. Currently at Adaptive Path, where the “figure out what people want, and then build designs for them”. Flickr, technorati, creative comments, Six Apart, Microsoft, United Nations and of course, Hitachi Data Systems. Even the term “blog” came out of Adaptive Path.

The Story of Ajax
A client had to build web-based applications for an insurance company. Jesse did UX research on Insurance agents. Applications must be responsive and fast for these insurance agents. Responsiveness for the web was needed. At first flash was thought to be the initial technology. Needed to present this technology to president of the company however needed a single word to present to client. Jesse published the essay on his website, went on vacation for two weeks. Upon his return, his inbox was flooded with inquires.

Two Concepts of Ajax:

1) Asynchronous interaction model.
This fundamentally breaks the nature of the web. The web is designed for document retrieval (synchronous). Decoupling the user experience from the server/client interaction. “Roller skates for the web” vs constantly taking steps.

Interaction Design, Desktop Responsiveness, Web Simplicity. Web is one of the most rapidly adopted technologies in human history (Not sure what first is).

2) Browser-native Technologies
Now these experiences can be delivered with no compromises. (such as an application for a specific browser with SSP). Another appeal is incremental migration, you don’t need migrate all of your application into a new platform (like Flash). Ajax can be deployed in bits. Another benefit is using ‘view source’, the work is out in the open.


Why now?

These technologies have been around for a while, why has this been embraced in 2005? The end of the browser war. Secondly, the rise of scripting languages. Perl, Python, Pine, Ruby. Google’s applications broke ground as they improved problems that had already been solved (email and maps). Gmail was the first high-profile product that came out. Yahoo management got nervous, as Yahoo mail is a significant source of revenue. Yahoo took an inventory of all their products, and took assessment of what products could be vulnerable a Google. Yahoo maps was not identified as a weakspot, Yahoo did not see Google Maps coming.

Who Benefits?
Early adopters, those who get in and experiment.

What Next?
How will browsers evolve to respond to Ajax? It’s no longer as a document retrieval application, but now to consider that the web is an application environment.

Cross Training
Developers and Designers must work together, observations that if they do not learn from each other they won’t be able to build a successful application. Designers are cross training in Development, and vice versa. Data is the core, logic is secondary, and then User Experience. This is not how users of websites think of sites, they see the user experience and rest is ‘magic’. The experience is the product. (Jeremiah: but isn’t content the product?)

User Focused Development and Design
UI should not be the end task at the experience. User lead design and development should come first. “Designing from the outside in!” –Tim O’Reilly.

Resources
Infoworld has a nice writeup

Kurt has a very comprehensive write-up on several sessions

Robby is taking notes as well.


Jeremy Gellen Ajax World Producer
Jeremy Gellen, AjaxWorld Producer
How users think your site is built
How normal users think your site works
Jesse James
Jesse Speaks
Jesse James
Jesse on Stage
Vendor Area
Folks hanging out in the vendor gallery