Fallback Mechanisms for Connection Loss in Single-Page Web Applications
Nieminen, Miro Martti Esko
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Fast-paced evolution of web technologies in both desktop and mobile devices has made browser environment a reckoned platform for almost any kind of application. The fact that more and more people are carrying efficient browsers in their pockets makes usage of web technologies more tempting and cost efficient solution even when creating business critical applications. The growth rate of mobile device usage has surpassed the rate in which new mobile network is built. The devices are also used in more distant locations where the data connection of the mobile network can be very limited or almost non-existent. This causes problems when using web applications, which are dependent on the connection to the server. Bad connectivity results in a degenerated user experience, since the application might be completely unusable when the connection is dropped. In this thesis we focus on how web developers could prepare the application for connection loss on the application level. The research is based on a case study, in which Päikky, an application from the kindergarten domain, is implemented with an offline support. The solutions done on the case study’s offline support implementation are evaluated with user interviews from a technical viewpoint and from the user experience perspective. The emphasis on the evaluation is that could the solutions be generalized as a design guidelines for offline support, and are the solutions understandable and usable for an average user. Based on the results of the research a set of design guidelines for offline support implementation are defined. The user experience flaws found in the user interviews are listed, and possible solutions for them are discussed. The essential results of this thesis indicate that connection issues are something that application should be prepared for, at least if the application is business critical. Even if there is no need for a full offline support, following the guidelines introduced will improve any web application’s user experience significantly.