Should I Open
A Complex Web-App In A Secondary Window???
A question for all you usability folks (U' all ?):
I'm working on the UI design of a very complex browser-based
application and am considering something I've wondered about
in the past, opening it immediately in its own secondary window
as soon as the user navigates to the address, or right after
they log in, I suppose.
The app is essentially a spreadsheet system, along with typical
administrative tasks that most business systems have, but
its distinguishing aspect is the extent to which it emulates
lots of Excel functionality. The sheets happen to interactively "reach
into" multi-dimensional (financial---no less!) databases,
a fascinating phenomenon of which I've only recently become
exposed to in a new job. I mention that only to give you
a flavor of the complexity... this is a typical app that
previously would never have been considered in a browser,
and many would still advise against. At least we have the
luxury of coding only to IE6+ because it is a purchased system.
I want to open it in its own window because one can then
strip off any and all of the affordances (toolbars and
built into the browser. (It would not strip off anything
from the original window.) Why? Because the vast majority
of those affordances are irrelevant to application work.
They are for surfing and ad-hoc content-centric tasks;
take a look at the IE menus and buttons. Worse, they often
with control needed by a complex app.
In particular I want to eliminate the Back button and the
myriad tools for browsing away from the page such as the address
bar. I understand that the user could still effect "Back" and
other actions in numerous ways such as right-clicking or keystrokes.
But making them less prevalent would go a long way toward improving
the user experience by reducing actions that highlight the
weaknesses of the browser in emulating the guidance previously
afforded by Windows dialogs.
My question to you is "What affordances would
I unwisely be giving up that I might absolutely need?" For
instance, IE's Tools/Internet Options/Advanced could be important.
would expect that the availability of that on the Login page
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