Rich User experience –


These days popularity of Web 2.0 applications has grown to such a degree that it seems the day is not far when almost every application would be accessed remotely using a browser and the users will be doing their work online. Google Docs, Google Spread Sheet, Google Finance are good examples. Such web-based applications are also known as Rich Interactive Application (RIA).




Rich Internet application works more like a desktop application than a traditional web application like webmail or static html websites. Such interactive Internet applications are enabled by technologies like AJAX, Adobe FlexAdobe FlashJQueryHTML5SilverLightJavaFXOpenLaszlo and so on. These new technologies have closed the gap between online and offline experiences and are redefining the possibilities in a browser like never before. In addition Rich interactive applications provide many benefits over traditional desktop applications. RIA avoids the need of installing client applications. It enables multiple users to work collaboratively rather than single-user, single-machine software. Many online applications support drag and drop and various other full rich media capabilities. An online application also eliminates the need for regular updates and patching and it gives a competitive advantage with greater user satisfaction.

What is Rich User experience?

Rich user experiences are typically a combination of GUI-style (Graphical User Interface) applications and multimedia content. The value of creating a web-based software that works and gives the user a similar experience to a computer-based software program is growing in the Web 2.0 paradigm.” Travis Steven

Example of  User experience :


Pixlr is a perfect example to show rich user experience paradigm of Web 2.0 in action. It is a popular, free online photo editor that enables fixing, editing, adjusting, filtering of your images online without the fuss of creating an account or registering with the site. It allows you to get right in and start editing your photos just like you would do on a desktop application like Photoshop etc. Pixlr is not just one application rather it is an online application suite, which includes the following applications:

Pixlr Editor 
Pixlr Express 


Let us look some of the best practices implements :


  • Combine the best of desktop & online experiences 


Pixlr undoubtedly provides the highest user engagement, fast performance and rich interactivity. It closes the gap between online and offline experience. Using Pixlr on your browser is no different to working on your desktop application like Photoshop or other photo editing applications. In addition Pixlr being an online application provides platform independent, ubiquitous access for multiple users around the world.


  • Usability and simplicity first


With Pixlr user does not need to create an account or register their details with the site. They can jump right in and start editing and fixing their photos or images as they like. And they can easily upload for editing and download the edited photos on to their local drive. Anyone who has used a desktop photo editing software like Photoshop would find Pixlr a piece of cake. And for those who haven’t they will find their way around without difficulty. It’s very simple and an excellent example of how a Web 2.0 application makes simplicity a strategic advantage.


  • Match the technology usage to the requirements


Pixlr employs a combination of technologies including Flash, JavaScript, HTML, CSS, and Ruby to deliver the rich and satisfying user experience that users are always looking for.


  • Search over structure


Pixlr being an online image editor tool does not require a search over content capability. However, Pixlr support, blog and documentation provides a search capability to enable users to quickly find help on some of the things they want to do in Pixlr editor.


  • Deep, adaptive personalization


Pixlr application provides a rich user experience but does not dynamically learn from user’s behavior or anticipates needs or remembers preferences, or adapts as appropriate.


Overview of web technologies employed by Pixlr :

Pixlr uses variety of web technologies to give its users the latest cutting edge rich user experience of online application. It uses Ruby as the server-side programming language, JavaScript as the client-side programming language. In addition it is built on Flash, JQuery, HTML, CSS. The image formats supported by Pixlr is JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) and PNG (Portable Network Graphics) both of which are most preferred compression method suitable for storing photographic images. 

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At the end, I encourage you to have a look at each one of  Pixlr applications to see how powerful they are. Also have a look at the Pixlr Blog to get a quick look into the endless possibilities that Pixlr provides to end-user both professionals and non-professionals with editing needs such as editing web images to be posted on social-media network like Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, or image sites like Flickr, Fotolog, Photobucket etc. Pixlr is also widely used by professionals all over the world for fixing images for news sites, blogs etc. 52a6b9fcce338b72de69fb6a53a17f68


22 comments on “Rich User experience –

  1. HI Danah ,to be honest, before adding this comment I have tried all the applications you mentioned, and for a person who was using Photoshop before, I really find Pixlr is a pies of cake in the way how I use the tools and how I start edit the images fast without even install anything, I guess, from now on I will add this website to my favorite websites list .In the end, thank you for this amazing blog and this fantastic example you brought to us .

  2. Hi Danah

    I think Pixlr is a good example to show ‘Rich user experience’ since it would be hard for artist/designer to switch from one designing tool to the other. Personally, I really like the service Pixlr has to offer. I have to do graphic sometimes. Using Paint is very limited and Photoshop is over kill(very expensive). I’ve been using Gimp for a while but that is very slowand interface is not that nice. I hope Pixlr could give me a solution to this. It also can be use anywhere so when I’m not using my own PC I could still do some graphic.

    Prapat W.

    • Dear Prapat W.
      I think Pixlr is exactly what you’re looking for because it’s -online- everywhere and doesn’t need to be downloaded ! Give it a chance : try it and let me know
      Thank you for commenting

      • I have a chance to try it and it really is good. I’ve never use it before but it is very similar to Photoshop that I’ve some experience with so I can just start using it right away.

        Thank again

        Prapat W.

  3. Great post, Danah. I think you Pixlr has covered the best practices perfectly. Do you think it experiences any of the issues for RUI? I also wondered about their revenue model and advertising metrics. If it is free, how are they gaining value?

    • Thanks for your comment bronwynsc , indeed it is .. about your questions :There are number of issues that Pixlr could face like:
      1. The issue of compatibility and complexity of different browsers but with Pixlr this doesnt seem to be an issue. If a browser can support Flash plugin it can support Pixlr as well.
      2. In the case of no Internet connectivity Pixlr like every other online application, will not function as desired.
      3. Pixlr is an online application where user stays pretty much on the same page doing all his work, hence it is possible to have adverse impact on the collection of web analytics and advertising metrics.

      Even I wondered how Pixlr made money but according to Adam Duvander the founder of Pixlr was not overly interested in making money however, he had some plans to license the techniques and create small apps. He also had plans on creating a desktop PRO app. But fortunately for the founder, in the year 2011 Pixlr was bought by AutoDesk a world leader in 3D Designs, engineering and entertainment tools. For further information on the acquisition have a look at how Pixlr becames part of AutoDesk
      I hope that answer your questions…wishing you the best..

  4. Hi Danah,

    Very informative and well layed out post. Pixlr looks like a great to use. Is there any support for newer users that haven’t used photo editing before? Is there any tutorials or guides for some beginner and advanced uses?

  5. Hi Danah
    You have given a very good example of Pixlr in you blog post. Pixlr Express is a fun and free photo editor that lets you quickly crop, re-size, and fix any picture, remove red-eye, and whiten teeth. Then choose from more than 600 effects, overlays, and borders to personalize any image—all for free. From the makers of Pixlr-o-matic, Pixlr Express will make you look like a pro, even if you’ve never edited a photo before.

  6. I have use this tool before, it is really easy to use
    but I’m not sure that, do they store the original picture that we use?
    And I don’t know why adobe is not interesting in this?
    These site is a substitute tool when you are not in front of you desktop.

    • Hi william..
      Thanks for your comment, yes I agree with you, Pixl is easy and these site are substitute tools when you are not on your desktop, because you can use it any where from any device. I searched about the saving the original picture issue, but I did not find anything about it, so I think they will not save it without a warning first as a privacy policy. Adobe photoshop is not free as far as I know, so if they have it as a online website they won’t have income as the one they get from selling the application.
      If you used both photoshop and pixlr, can you tell us what is the difference that you got in the results? And which one you prefer & why?

  7. Hi Danah.
    I like your post about Pixlr , you wrote many helpful information of Pixlr and it looks like a great to use .

  8. Hiya, I was reading one more issue about this on one more blog. Interesting. Your perspective on it’s diametrically contradicted from what I read earlier. I’m nevertheless pondering of the opposite points of view, but I’m leaning to a excellent extent toward yours. And irrespective, which is what’s so perfect about modern democracy as well as the industry of ideas online.

    • Thank you, I am glad that you liked mine and learned something from it.
      Sure there’ll be a different of the point of view between every body, it just works that way or we will all end up doing the same things and using the same websites for the same reasons.
      Wish you the best

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