UIEtips Article: iHotelier: Demonstrating the Potential of Flash for Web App Design

Jared Spool

October 26th, 2006

UIEtips 10/26/06: iHotelier: Demonstrating the Potential of Flash for Web App Design

In our work, we’ve seen an increasing demand for complex web applications that provide users with a seamless and interactive experience. As a result, development teams are growing increasingly dissatisfied with the limitations of HTML and are turning to new development tools, including Flash and Ajax.

Flash has stood out over the years as a way to create applications with sophisticated capabilities beyond what is possible with today’s HTML. We first saw Flash’s potential in the web application space when we studied iHotelier, a Flash-based hotel reservation system.

It has been over 5 years since iHotelier’s Flash-based OneScreen application launched on the Broadmoor’s web site. Since then, it has been adopted by more than 3000 hotels around the world and has processed nearly one million reservations totaling about $350 million. As one of the first Rich Internet Applications doing e-commerce, OneScreen helped demonstrate a new generation of web applications that behave more like desktop applications and abandon the old request-reply model of the first generation of web applications.

In this week’s UIEtips, we reprinted an excellent article written by UIE’s Christine Perfetti. In this article, Christine discusses Flash’s potential for creating sleek, sophisticated, and interactive web applications, using iHotelier as a real-world example. I find the issues presented in the article still prevalent today, and believe you will too.

Read today’s UIEtips article.

Are you continually frustrated by developing HTML-based applications? Have you found significant advantages to using Flash? Bring your struggles and triumphs to light by sharing your experiences with us. Join the conversation below.

[If you would like to learn more about the power of Flash, you'll really want to come hear Jim Whitney of Whiteboard Labs, at the UIE Web Application Summit this January. Jim is the designer of the original OneScreen user interface for the Broadmoor. At the Summit, he will discuss what he and his team learned from the experiences of OneScreen and other Rich Internet Applications over the past five years. (You can find out more about Jim, along with the other top speakers we've invited on the UIE Web Application Summit site.]

2 Responses to “UIEtips Article: iHotelier: Demonstrating the Potential of Flash for Web App Design”

  1. Miki Dzugan Says:

    Jared,

    I am happy to hear about successful and appropriate uses of Flash – it is a superb tool for interactions and demonstrations. But as a search engine marketing professional, I would like to see the caveat that Flash should not be used for material that site owners would like to have indexed by search engines. Also, great care should be taken with Flash intros, IMHO.

  2. sal Gaglio Says:

    On of the most powerful tools I found is a content management system in flash
    It is totally Flash based and has mulitple applications
    The LIS and portal features are very exciting but most exciting is that every thing is avaible in a hosted format making management of flash site as easy as drag and drop. But what will blow your socks off is that is it entirely index searchable.!!!!
    Contact me for more info at salvatore.gaglio@sceata.com

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