The line in the sand that has been drawn through the center of 'web development' deepens with each and every web-based application project; a skill set ravine that marks the delineation between web 'sites' and 'applications'. As more and more users find themselves taking advantage of internet ubiquity, developers are challenged to find a more effective and efficient means of delivering tools that suit the needs of this growing group... and a critical component to this process is the understanding of how sites and apps differ, both in form and function, as well as with planning and implementation. The following table asserts some basics of each:
Web Site Development
Web Application Development
Though notably different, both web sites and applications begin the same way. As conceptual abstracts, both are based on a set of user goals which are defined through demographic research... and both employ this understanding to create an appropriate, intuitive user experience. Both essentially need to know their audience.
While both sites and applications require the developer to have a firm understanding of
audience/user demographics, web applications call for a deeper adherence to user-centric
details and patterns - specifically relating to interface design and usability. Essentially, web apps strive to define and optimize how a user best interacts with specific features and
functions... hence the need for an intuitive and efficient interface.
This is not to say that site developers need not understand their own target audiences...
quite the contrary in fact. Effective web sites focus on demographics as well - maximizing
information presentation and architecture such that the target audience can best understand the content before them. While their counterpart in this discussion is task-oriented, these sites are information-oriented.
And so was born, a basic understanding of web site vs. application development! Tune in next time as our hero delves deeper in the design cave, exploring the individual components that are required in both web sites and applications... same web time... same web channel.