Client List:

Shown Graphed Over Time, As a Function of "Webness".

Description of Graph

The above graph charts our Clients over time as a function of the "Webness" of the application we designed for them. "Webness" is our way of quantifying the degree to which an application exhibits the "look and feel" we have come to expect from Web pages. For example, Web pages typically use links instead of the select-then-operate model of native applications, and "tabbed" navigation has been used in place of modal windows. And, of course, the Web tends to be graphically intense. Thus, a high "Webness value" would be assigned to the typical company "About Us" page -- what is sometimes referred to "brochureware" -- or to a brain candy page like the infamous Dancing Baby. At the other end of the scale, a low Webness value would be given to a desktop application like Microsoft Word. The line on the graph plotted with the red arrows and labeled "Web Page Evolution" is our informal characterization of how Web pages themselves have evolved. And, yes, the trend is that Web pages are actually decreasing in their Webness. How could this be? Well, at first, Web pages were mostly high-Webness brochureware; the emphasis was on information delivery. Then came the rise of portals, where a truer mixture between content delivery and applications started to emerge. Yahoo is the classic example of a horizontal portal, spurring the development of industry-specific vertical portals. By combining tabbed navigation with modal pages, as well as visually-intense spot art with stark lists and dialog boxes, the look and feel of these portals expressed this growing mix of content and application-like functionality. Now, the current trend is to deliver "Enterprise Applications" over the Web. Such Applications integrate many systems and touchpoints, delivering end-to-end functionality across an entire enterprise via the Web. Both because of the underlying technology and the rich set of functionality they deliver, Enterprise Applications are decidedly lower on the Webness scale (i.e., closer to traditional applications) than Portals. The design roots of Mental Models, as the graph indicates, are firmly in the native application world -- the "low-end of Webness" as it were; we resisted the early temptation to emphasize the brochureware part of our business (although we have certainly developed many high-Webness sites; particularly when Clients wanted the look and feel of their corporate sites or marketing materials to be tightly integrated with their applications). However, as you can see by the increasing Webness of our projects over time, our design sense has been fundamentally and forever changed by our journey into the Web. The design of today's Web applications requires a team that can integrate and navigate both of these worlds; and our unique history and experience give us the perfect perspective to be a leading designer of the next generation of Web-enabled applications.