When It's Not Just a Web Site You Need
Over the last couple blogs, we’ve touched on the importance of selecting the right type of project for your web needs. The first step is to determine whether or not you need a website or a web application. Here’s a quick and simple way to do that.
Gearing You Up for a Web Application
A website is mostly used for simple projects that don’t require advanced programming. The user interacts with content and pages that are static. They are limited in the amount of information they can give to the site. As the viewer clicks through the pages, the navigation is pretty straightforward.
A web application has similar functions to a website, however it’s not the same thing. Instead of limiting the user’s ability to interface with the site, an application allows the user to supply information and interact with dynamic pages. Here’s an example:
Your web project requires the user to login and input information. The information they put in determines what the system will do next. Let’s say the user is taking a survey that has a set of answers: if the user selects “yes”, he or she will advance to the next question in that progression. If he or she selects “no”, a different set of questions will be presented. As the user continues on, the questions will continue adjusting to the choices they are making!
So, let’s say you decide it is an web application you need. How exactly should you get started? Here are the components to consider:
If you’ve selected a web application over a simple website, it’s probably because you need a system that can process different functions. These functions can include commerce, tabs, and forms, just to name a few. A complex web application doesn’t mean it’s impossible to navigate. It’s actually the contrary. A well-built application can be complex in design and development, but very easy for the end user to navigate and interface with.
When the user sits down to use your application, what results and experience do you want them to have? One of the biggest turn offs for web users is struggling with navigation. If you think back to your vision and goals for your project, did you consider how much effort the user will need to get from location to location? This comes up very often when users are required to put in information. If the user puts in the information, what comes next? More fields for more information? You don’t have to make any set decisions now; just consider what would be ideal for your user.
Will there be sensitive information on your application that will need to be stored and secured? In most cases, security will be necessary for your application. As data moves across the internet or virtually, it may become vulnerable, even if you are using a secure network. So, it is important to keep security at the top of your mind. The best web applications have optimal security performance that is maintained and updated as new threats are identified.
One thing to consider with maintenance is how often your content, navigations, forms, programs, etc. would need to be updated. Over time, your application will require maintenance. Most developers offer maintenance plans that will keep your application current and protected against potential threats.
There’s quite a bit more to web applications. The things I’ve covered today are just a few to think about. Let’s talk more about your project and figure out what you’ll need to complete your web application.