Mashup Camp 2 Day 1: AJAX design patterns

Veneer was great, but short, so I’m on to Sarah Harmer’s You Were Here. I’m starting to slow down — it’s was a long day of travel yesterday and a long day of idea generation today — so may not finish up all my posts today.

The next session for me was AJAX design patterns, which was good although focussed a bit too much on security issues for what I was looking for. Some great stuff on UI and performance issues. The wiki page has all the technical details, includes references to further JSON reading, so I’ll just touch on some of the things that stuck in my mind during the session about AJAX UI design:

  • Action of the back button: was the last user activity a navigation or an action? Can it be “undone” by navigating back, or is it appropriate to return to a higher level/home page?
  • Action of the refresh button.
  • URL and permalinks: appended # arguments that don’t hit the server but are pure client processes to make the AJAX calls. Implications for search engines (agents can’t index pages directly and would require an alternative representation to be referenced by robots.txt, but doesn’t handle issues of relevancy through links), emailing permalink references.
  • Tradeoffs between user experience and technical issues.
  • Some actions need to be synchronous (e.g., “buy it” and other transactions), requires forcing synchronicity in AJAX or breaking out of AJAX for that part of the transaction.

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