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Posts Tagged ‘Adobe AIR

Say goodbye to bad UI (thanks to the cloud)

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A typical modal dialog box with prominent &quo...
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I don’t think anyone will argue with me that the typical IT management tool user interface (UI) is just plain awful.  There are several reasons for this, but the most obvious one is that an enterprise software product is loaded with hundreds of features, functions, and configurations, all of which need to be accessible to an end user.

As cloud computing aggregates formerly disparate functions and resources into logical groups, it stands to reason that  user interfaces will not need as much complexity as is required today, simply because there is more abstraction of the resources that make up the application (code, servers, network, database, etc).  If there are less things that are user configurable in a software package, you can simply eliminate numerous menu items, configuration toggles, buttons, etc.

It will be hard for the incumbents to change their UI to fit this new model.  Customers who are used to a certain UI from a vendor or product are going to want it to stay the same (or close to the same) since they’re used to how it looks – even if it looks horrible :)

New entrants, however, have a great opportunity to leverage UI and user experience to make their management apps more sticky and to appeal to a broader market.  For example, the Bluebear guys have built a snazzy, intuitive multi-hypervisor virtualization management tool written in Adobe AIR.  If I’m an SMB who is dipping my toe into the waters of virtualization, maybe a tool like this makes it easier for me to get started.   Or take a company like Cloudkick, that is looking to “make the cloud easier to use an accessible to everyone.” That’s a great misson statement, and one that’s certainly achievable given the software development technologies available today.

Maybe (hopefully?) we end up in a world where the idea of sending one’s IT staff to “training” class for several thousand dollars a pop will be a thing of the past.  The IT guys will just be able to sit down and drive whatever software you put in front of them.

The UI will be that good…

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Written by John Gannon

May 29, 2009 at 4:49 pm

Back from Bootstrapper Conference

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Yesterday I was at the Bootstrapper Venture Summit and spent the day networking with local investors, service providers, and early stage companies.

There were a bunch of familiar faces (including a bunch of my Columbia compadres who are now in the VC business) and of course a bunch of new ones.  Here are some of the companies that made an impression on me:

Kidos – These guys make a kid-friendly computing environment (written in Adobe AIR) that lets your kid have a safe Internet experience AND prevents them from breaking your computer :)  My kids are still too young for the Internet but I can see why both the former and the latter would be useful.

MediaMorph – This company makes a system to better track and monetize Internet video assets.

CarZen – This site is meant to help car buyers directly communicate with car dealers.  Ultimately the company hopes to build a reputational engine which would help drive business to the dealers who were viewed as the most helpful.  I think this would be great for the used car market in particular, as there is a great deal of seller mistrust and information asymmetry in that market.

Safeguard Guaranty – Divorce insurance.  Seriously.  I thought this was a great idea, and it means you can avoid that awkward pre-nup conversation with your spouse-to-be. ;)

RmbrMe – This startup is trying to address the waste and inconvenience associated with transfer of business cards.  I’ll probably sign up and try this service out since I’m generally swimming in business cards after networking events and would appreciate an elegant solution.

Zen Burger – Not a tech startup, but a purveyor of veggie burgers and other healthy fast food.  They catered the lunch and I must say that I greatly enjoyed my popcorn “shrimp” and “chicken” wrap.  Not a traditional venture capital type of company, but one that has a big vision and could do really well if they can find an investor that’s a good fit.

Allen Stern has some coverage of the event on his blog CenterNetworks which you should check out as well.

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Written by John Gannon

October 3, 2008 at 4:25 pm

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