Macromedia and Jakob Nielsen, usability guru and founder of Nielsen Norman Group, today announced a strategic relationship to focus on improving the usability of rich Internet applications and content. Nielsen will be developing best practice guidelines for creating usable rich Internet applications with Macromedia Flash MX. Macromedia Flash MX, which began shipping in March, contains features that enable designers and developers to be more productive while ensuring their work is both usable and accessible. Macromedia Flash MX is the fastest way to create rich Internet content and applications that deliver a better return on investment.
"There continues to be tremendous innovation in the designer and developer community around creating the best user experiences using Macromedia Flash," said Kevin Lynch, chief software architect, Macromedia. "We're thrilled to be working with Jakob Nielsen to turn these experiences into best practices as we all learn about building rich Internet applications. Our ultimate goal is to make these 100 percent good."
"Macromedia has obviously taken steps toward better usability with Macromedia Flash MX," said Nielsen. "The product enables users to create content and applications more easily that follow traditional usability and accessibility guidelines. In particular, the addition of standardized interface components will finally help put an end to design inconsistencies."
Macromedia Flash MX meets the needs of both designers and developers to deliver rich Internet content and applications that can be experienced consistently across all leading platforms and devices. The product simplifies the process of visual authoring for traditional web developers who want to use a rich client technology for their applications. The more than one million designers already familiar with Macromedia Flash can use their existing skills along with new server technologies to address the emergence of rich Internet applications. Macromedia Flash MX is an integral part of the MX product family. For more information on Macromedia Flash MX, go to www.macromedia.com/go/flashmx/.
Macromedia Flash MX contains new features like components, which enable developers to use common application interfaces, including scrollbars, rich text fields, input buttons, radio buttons and check boxes, and list and combo boxes within their applications. A common user interface frees site visitors to focus on the task they are trying to complete instead of how they need to accomplish it. Named anchors in Macromedia Flash content let end users move through the site using their browser navigation buttons.
Macromedia Flash MX also simplifies the creation of accessible user experiences by enabling the addition of descriptive text to rich Internet applications and content. This allows people with disabilities to interact with Macromedia Flash applications and content using accessibility aids such as screen readers.
Rich Internet applications free developers to move beyond the document-based framework of the browser. The result of delivering these more intuitive, responsive applications will be increased productivity and better experiences for end users. Macromedia and Jakob Nielsen will be working together to help designers and developers learn how to take advantage of the opportunities of this new market segment by developing best practices for rich Internet applications.