The CIA

The Forces of User Experience - thumbnailNo i’m not being national security conscious all of a sudden. I’m talking about a new (better?) name for Rich Internet Applications – “Contextual Internet Applications”.  At work we’ve been talking about the benefits (and drawbacks) RIAs bring to the table and my contention is that the primary benefit is a “duh inducing” one – “context”.

Hopefully i’ve explored this line of thinking a little more deeply and more meaningfully with this diagram, a work in progress, offered for comments and discussion …

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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4 Responses to “The CIA”


  1. 1 Jody January 3, 2008 at 8:34 am

    Great thought. I’ve always thought Rich was too broad and relative a term. Contextual is far more focused and true a label for us the practitioners, but I don’t know if it beats Rich for the purposes of ‘selling’ the concept.

  2. 2 Richard January 3, 2008 at 11:30 am

    Yeah, I agree. I didn’t mean to imply that we should all start calling them CIAs 😉

  3. 3 Keith Instone January 5, 2008 at 9:21 am

    I think adding “context” to the name (or at least the definition) of web concepts is a wonderful idea. With the merging and mashing-up and blurrying of so many things in the Internet today, our poor users must have contextual clues to help them stay sane and happy.

    Sometimes this means just a better focus on the contextual aspects of what we have always done. For example, when working with my IA team, we talk a lot more about contextual navigation than sitewide and local navigation. We always dealt with all 3, now we pay more attention to the contextual (compared to 10 years ago).

    I am not sure renaming RIA to CIA is the key – and I know that was not your point. I think making sure everyone on the UX team is always conscious of context as a key part of the experience, and designs appropriately, then we will be OK.

  4. 4 Roma January 11, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    This is great stuff, Richard. When someone asks me if I know you, my new reply will be, “You mean Richard Dalton, the CIA Agent?” 😉


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