I “d like to share with you two Web applications that I enjoy the most. Even though one is from the music industry and the other one is about travel, they have are very similar: very simple and intuitive UI and sophisticated data processing under the hood.
The first one is Pandora Radio. This application allows you to create the radio station based on your personal preferences. Just enter one name of the artist you like and it starts playing song by song bringing artists that play the music similar to your initial selection. While the song is playing, click the up button id you like it and button down if you “re not ndash; this song will be never played again. These simple interactions with the users make this radio to “learn rdquo; your preferences and create the perfect radio for you. Don “t know the name of the artist? Just pick the one of the genre radios (I “m in the mood for reggae at this moment).
The good part is that it “s free if you don “t mind audio commercials. You can buy a song or even a CD by the artist you like either from (integrated!!!) iTunes or from Amazon. While the music is playing, Pandora “s simplistic UI display some facts about the artist or the song lyrics. I love Pandora!
The second app is a new Web application that allows you to book air tickets online. One would think, “Yeah, right! Try to surprise me with yet another Kayak, Expedia or Orbitz. What can someone come up with that these big guys didn “t think of? rdquo;
Ladies and Gents, please welcome, one and only Hipmunk ! Extremely simple and non-cluttered first screen to specify your travel needs. Let me pretend that I haven “t purchase my JavaOne tickets from Newark to San Fran . Entering EWR, SFO, 9/19/10, 9/23/10. That “s it. Here “s what I “ve gotten back:
Is this great or what? On one second screen you see everything you need: dates flights, connections, airlines as a two dimensional matrix. People who travel a lot can immediately appreciate the beauty of this way of presenting the travel information.Note that hipmunks works only with Orbitz at this point, and after selecting the flight check for the best price elsewhere.
Wow, it “s so simple, how come I didn “t think of it this way? I know. How complex is the home page of Google? You “ve got to be very smart to create very simple looking UI. IMO, simple UI with smart programming and super powerful and flexible hidden infrastructure is a trend where entire IT industry is going. The user has to see only a little tip of the iceberg. The less the user sees the better.
Those who know that I make a living developing rich Internet application may be surprised that I “m not pushing for fancy UI tools that allow to animate the UI and “make a web site more engaging rdquo;. But I see no contradiction here ndash; most of our applications that we develop with Flex and Java bring more value to the customers in the processing part without abusing UI.
If you want to continue this conversation in person, you “re welcome to attend our one day public seminar on enterprise development with Flex and Java in New York City next week.