Well a good reason to reanimate my Blog is the announcement that a showcase that we started to design together with T-Systems Multi Media Solutions more than 6 months ago is now finally online for public viewing.
Just not to confuse you, the planning, design and implementation phase didn't took that long. In contrary after all the formal and administrative stuff had been settled the team was able to finish the "real" work in quite a short timeframe. And since finishing it in autumn 2006 it was already featured on two events hosted by T-Systems.
One was the "Dresdner Zukunftsforum" with some very prominent speakers of the Web 2.0 age like Tim O'Reilly and Jaron Lanier. The second was the "2. Business Frühstück" which also focused on technologies and business models in the Web 2.0 ecosystem
But back to the shop showcase and a little more about development time (or should I better use the business term time-to-market to also draw the attention of the business people) was quite short. This was for sure also a result of using the Microsoft ASP.Net Atlas Framework and the Atlas Control Toolkit (which is now called ASP.Net 2.0 Ajax Extensions and ASP.Net Ajax Control Toolkit) which enabled us to rapidly prototype the shop by using some of the already prebuilt contols from the toolkit.
Motivation for implementing the shop showcase was to demonstrate how easy and fast innovative shop frontends delivering a rich user experience can be implemented using Microsoft Ajax technology.
Design Goals of the Shop showcase were:
- Easy and intuitive navigation
- Innovative and product quality reflecting presentation.
- Visualized shopping cart which is always present.
- Smooth user experience through asynchronous communication patterns and autocomplete.
- Sensible selection of components from feature rich Ajax frameworks in the context of the business case. No feature/effect overload.
Features of the shop showcase are:
- Wheel navigation for manual product selection based on product visuals
- Autocomplete functionality for product search (There's actually one Gotcha that what looks like the search button next to the autocomplet field really is a product selector. It cannot retrieve products that are only spelled partially)
- Layered pages with opacity effects
- Hover effect to display comprehensive product information from products in the cart
- Concise buying process with consistency/syntax checks
You can see and try the shop showcase at http://minishop.t-systems-mms.eu/
More information about ASP.Net 2.0 Ajax Extensions and the Toolkit as well as the free bits can be found here.