The Ajax Spoof
By now, I suspect you may have noticed this piece: Why Ajax Sucks (Most of the Time) which, at first glance, looks an awful lot like an Alertbox from noted usability expert Jakob Nielsen’s useit.com site. I for one am a fan of Alertbox and have read a couple of his books (and of course I think the other N in NN/g is one of the best minds around – check out his site: jnd.org and go read Design of Everyday Things. Seriously, go ahead, I’ll wait.) so I was really interested to see what Nielsen would have to say about Ajax. Of course, it didn’t take long to realize this was just a some folks having a little fun! BTW – Nielsen has posted a note on his site disavowing any connection…
The first notice I got of this was from my old college advisor – he wanted my input! I’m not sure if he knew it was a hoax (and was just testing me) or if he wanted my honest feedback. Ajaxian got into the mix too: Alertbox Spoof: “Why Ajax Sucks (Most of the Time)“. This clever piece arose from Confusability – and they’re having quite a bit of fun with it! Check out their link to the spoof, and their follow up Hurricane Ajax – The Aftermath.
While we can all have a good laugh about this little spoof, it does raise an important issue: what are the usability impacts of Ajax? Frankly, I think Ajax is one of the first technologies I’ve encountered where I can truly say – it significantly improves the user experience (if used properly). On my application we think Ajax can make a real difference – enhancements our customers will notice. But it has to be done with care. Like any good tool, Ajax can both help and hurt depending on how it’s applied. Done right, you’ll exceed users’ expectations. Do it poorly and all you’ll do is increase their frustration. How do you know what you’re doing? It’s really simple – just test it with real users. If you screwed up you’ll find out pretty fast.