Using the Web as an Application Interface

James Rice, Adam Farquhar, Phillippe Piernot, and Thomas Gruber (1995). Using the Web as an Application Interface. CHI ’96 Proceedings: Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, April 13-18, 1996, pp. 103-110, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Pushes the “virtual document as interface” metaphor to the extreme, for that time in the Web’s evolution.

Context: Pushes the “virtual document as interface” metaphor to the extreme. The much-extended, on-line version contains interactive examples of UI techniques described in the paper.

Original Abstract: We show how to deliver a sophisticated, yet intuitive, interactive application over the web using off-the-shelf web browsers as the interaction medium. This attracts a large user community, improves the rate of user acceptance, and avoids many of the pitfalls of software distribution. Web delivery imposes a novel set of constraints on user interface design. We outline the tradeoffs in this design space, motivate the choices necessary to deliver an application, and detail the lessons learned in the process. These issues are crucial because the growing popularity of the web guarantees that software delivery over the web will become ever more wide-spread. This application is publicly available at:

External URL: