The quality of a web application cannot only be judged on the quality of the application itself. A myriad of accompanying services and experiences are connected with a product and is not and should not be easily separated from it. Is the web application easy to combine with other products and external services? Is it easily integrated into other products or services? Is the documentation sufficient and easy to use? Is there need for documentation? Is it advertised well? Do I feel welcome? How is the warranty and what are the terms of use? Is there personal confrontation in the sales situation, and is it easy to quit?

Making it easy to both join and leave

Some web applications makes it easy for you to join and even leave and uses this to help lower the entrance barrier of getting the user started with a service. and for instance makes it dead easy to import data from your old blog and even export your content once you decide to leave.

Basecamp is easy to integrate with your own system

The project management application from 37signals provides both an RSS feed of your projects’ activities, and an extensive API that lets you integrate the application with your own systems making you both read and write as much as you want. The openness from 37signals has resulted in several iPhone applications and has led other web app providers (30+) to offer seamless integration with Basecamp – all of which only makes Basecamp a stronger product.

When excitement is part of the equation

In January, I bought a ski vacation from Nortlander. There was nothing special about it until two days before my vacation started. This was when I received an email from Nortlander telling me about the snow conditions, the sunny weather forecast in the upcoming week, and that they looked forward for taking care of us. Even though it was easy to spot that it was a mass mail, my already high level of excitement rose even higher and was poured into my view of Nortlander as a company as well.

There are so many ways you can improve the whole experience

There are plenty of ways to improve the experience of your online product, that does not have to do with the web experience and application itself. When you are competing with many similar products, improving and focusing on neglected parts of the experience might just give you the edge you need.

Anders Toxboe Author

Based out of Copenhagen, Denmark, Anders Toxboe is a Product Discovery coach and trainer, helping both small and big clients get their product right. He also founded and a series of other projects. Follow Anders at @uipatternscom.


  • GUI Redesign on Aug 28, 2009

    That is really what it means being up ahead of the competition.

  • Web 2.0 Design on Aug 28, 2009

    There is definitely something about web 2.0 applications

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