Browsers aren’t sexy. For most, these necessary pieces of software act as onramps to the web. They are so ubiquitous and familiar that you don’t think about them–unless something doesn’t work effortlessly. When the first iterations of today’s modern browsers came out over 20 years ago, the fact that you could see text and images from a computer anywhere else in the world was amazing. Never mind that little of the content was visually attractive or that there were no fancy bells and whistles. It didn’t matter – pages felt more like a half-step above looking at a paper printout than the full-featured desktop-like applications of today.
This all seems like ancient history. The last two decades have seen such a rapid evolution of the capabilities of web browsers that is has fundamentally shifted people’s expectations for what a modern web experience should be. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know if you use FireFox, Chrome, Internet Explorer or Edge at work. You might not care what browser your phone or tablet comes with. Technologies that power the modern web like HTML5, CSS3, LESS, and websockets might sound like meaningless buzzwords. But you likely do care when you pull up a web site on one of your devices and it is difficult to use or looks like it was created in 1999.
There is a single word that perhaps best captures the current user expectation of web applications leveraging modern browsers have to offer: experience. I want my experience to be enjoyable. I want my experience to be productive. I want my experience to adapt to my needs and preferences–regardless of what device I am using. While I may take for granted all of the effort and technology that goes into making a pleasing, seamless site experience, anything that hinders it or I find lacking will certainly stand out.
Expected features for modern web applications range from the complex to the simple, but all contribute to the overall experience. I personally find it frustrating when a web site does not offer a way to search all site content. That’s why TeamConnect offers a powerful full-text search to let users quickly find exactly what they need in a vast sea of documents and data. Little touches like our new floating back-to-the top button may go unnoticed until you try it once–and then you wonder how you ever got along without it.
A more subtle yet arguably more expected behavior of modern websites is seamlessly adapting to a multitude of different devices. Targeting desktops, phones, and tablets with completely separate platform-specific versions of sites is the 2009 approach. Now, websites leverage responsive or adaptive designs to conform the same site to screens of all sizes. With TeamConnect 5, we added more responsive behaviors such as menus that dynamically shrink and collapse and page elements that rearrange to work better in a vertical layout. This means you will have an optimal experience whether on your phone at home or using your desktop at the office.
All of the conveniences of modern browsers and sites have transformed both the way we experience the internet and our expectations of the sites we visit and the applications we use. You may not know (or care) about all the tech working behind the scenes to make it happen, but you’ll certainly notice when it’s missing. When done well, though, you get to work how you want to work, where you want to work–and that’s a technology benefit anyone can understand.
I would love to show you a demo of the new TeamConnect at LegalTech New York 2017. Please stop by our booth (#1995) for a live demonstration of TeamConnect, the back-to-back champion of LegalTech News Most Innovative Award. See you there!