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Devising a new paradigm for usable, maintainable Web applications (20 Oct 2004)
In the Web community, usability engineering is often discussed but rarely implemented. It’s pretty clear that software works better when it is well-designed and user-centric. It’s also evident that too many of today’s Web applications are harder to use than they should be. Experts tend to focus on why usability is important and how to improve usability on the Web. However, they rarely address what makes usability on the Web difficult to implement and maintain.

Why does usability tend to lag behind as Web applications become increasingly complex? Much of this lag can be attributed to the fact that the languages we use to create Web pages are not optimized for usability engineering. It is often the goal of the developer to simply get an application to function—but not necessarily function well—because the tools at the developer’s disposal do not promote such a thought process.

In this article, we’ll look at how traditional programming has evolved, discuss the current state of presentation-tier code, and devise a paradigm that makes developing for the Web a more intuitive and maintainable practice. Hopefully, this will lead to a greater emphasis on developing for usability and long-lasting code to avoid the constant need for major redevelopment.
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