4.4. Problems Created by the New Development Paradigm
Developing with AJAX can also create new usability and design problems. As you add more interactive features to a Web site, it moves further away from the model your users have used. One way to avoid this is to make the site look and feel more like an application; this gives the users a clue that the site will be working like an application and not like the Web site to which they are accustomed. However, in many cases, there is no easy way to mimic native applications, especially in areas where no similar native application exists. In these cases, you'll have to use other cues to create appropriate usability expectations from your users. Following the usability guidelines provided in Chapter 6, "Usability Guidelines," can help solve many of these basic usability problems.
AJAX can also cause problems because it is new and because it's a prime candidate for overuse. AJAX is powerful and can create some great solutions, but that doesn't mean it can solve every problem. For instance, you may have a general usability problem that can be solved only by updating the user interface. Throwing AJAX at the problem isn't going to solve anything. In other words, keep in mind that AJAX isn't a magic bullet; to use it effectively, you must keep your goals and overall usability in mind when adding it to an application's design.