A note to the uninitiated: Jesse James Garrett gets a lot of love.
He won a 2006 Wired Magazine RAVE Award in technology; his 2002 book, The Elements of User Experience, moved beyond its original Web design audience and was adopted in software development and industrial design; and he’s credited with creating the first visual vocabulary for describing information architecture and interaction design (translated into eight languages, even).
He also coined the term Ajax… supposedly while in the shower one day… if you believe everything you read over at Wikipedia.
In pure, unfettered English: Ajax is one of the root technologies that’s made the Web fun again.
It makes online applications move like those on your desktop. Sometime even better. It lets NetFlix show you movie reviews, it lets you drag about and zoom in on Google maps, it makes your webmail more fluid.
In the words of many, it takes things that used to suck — interface and design-wise — and not only makes them suck less, but actually makes them a joy to use.
And all that taken together creates a large part of the foundation of this thing people are calling Web 2.0.
Google is making a huge investment in developing the Ajax approach. All of the major products Google has introduced over the last year â€” Orkut, Gmail, the latest beta version of Google Groups, Google Suggest, and Google Maps â€” are Ajax applications… Others are following suit: many of the features that people love in Flickr depend on Ajax, and Amazonâ€™s A9.com search engine applies similar techniques.
These projects demonstrate that Ajax is not only technically sound, but also practical for real-world applications. This isnâ€™t another technology that only works in a laboratory. And Ajax applications can be any size, from the very simple, single-function Google Suggest to the very complex and sophisticated Google Maps.
And the reason Jesse James Garrett gets a lot of love is because through his speaking and lectures, his company (Adaptive Path), his blog and his association with the Information Architecture Institute, he’s at the forefront of this movement.
The video above was shot at The Ajax Experience in San Francicso. In it, Garrett discusses how Adaptive Path came to use Ajax, how Ajax and other Web technologies are changing the way we interact online, and what is meant by interactive, user-centric design principles.
In the end we see that Ajax is the latest chapter in Web design and development. It’s not the last chapter, but a significant and important one.