How would you characterize a Rich Internet Application (RIA); and its value for end users? Rich Internet Applications are interactive applications which can communicate over the internet but have rich user interface similar to desktop applications. In this context Rich Internet Applications (RIA) combine best of two worlds; the expansive reach of the Web with the richness of desktop application.
Conventional internet applications have been restricted by HTML and its features, some efforts were made to enhance the user experience especially in the new specification HTML 5. Even Microsoft is embracing HTML 5 specification in Internet Explorer 9.
Even though upcoming HTML specification may blur the lines between conventional HTML applications and rich internet applications, there will always be customers who would express their dissatisfaction at the shortcomings of pure HTML interfaces. On the other hand, desktop applications are available which are fat clients having rich and intelligent interface but with big restriction on not accessible over internet.
The customer expectations for user interface and accessibility over internet opened this new market of rich internet applications. This new approach has some inherent advantages. RIA helps in reducing the network congestion thus, improving the performance level. Users can easily create visually appealing applications with the help of rich development platforms.
Following are the advantages of RIA:
More Responsive: RIAs are more responsive then traditional applications. The local deployment on the system enables the availability of user interface locally. The agile response from applications keeps the user engaged while improving user productivity.
Interactive User Interface: RIAs have more interactive UI as they can be used to provide information in more appealing way in lesser time as compared to conventional internet applications. This fast interactivity with the application improves user satisfaction quite significantly.
Less Internet Traffic and Faster Processing: Rich internet application does not refresh entire page and that leads to less traffic and faster processing.
Simplifying Online Transactions: RIAs eliminate the multi-page for multi-step transactions by presenting all pertinent information to users without leaving the initial environment. This improves customer satisfaction and customer loyalty as they view the service provider as someone who understands their needs.
RIAs have been widely adopted and proved to deliver tangible ROI to the businesses. Organizations have achieved measurable benefits including higher customer conversion rates, increased user productivity, and improved customer loyalty.