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Nielsen Norman Group to Create Flash MX Guidelines

Macromedia on Monday said it would partner with the Web consultants Nielsen Norman Group to develop guidelines for developing Internet applications with its latest Flash MX product.

The Neilsen alliance, which is being used to push the Flash MX product line, would create a structure for the creation of rich Internet applications. Macromedia said Neilsen founder, usability guru Jakob Nielsen would be working together to help designers and developers learn how to make use of this market segment.

It's all part of Macromedia's Studio MX offerings, which was recently released as an integrated collection of tool, server, and client technologies developed to function as a single environment. The offerings, which began shipping in March, promises to free developers to move beyond the document-based framework of the browser. "The result of delivering these more intuitive, responsive applications will be increased productivity and better experiences for end users," the company said.

"We're thrilled to be working with Jakob Nielsen to turn these experiences into best practices as we all learn about building rich Internet applications. Our ultimate goal is to make these 100 percent good," said Kevin Lynch, a Macromedia spokesman.

Nielsen said the Flash MX product line "enables users to create content and applications more easily that follow traditional usability and accessibility guidelines."

"In particular, the addition of standardized interface components will finally help put an end to design inconsistencies," he said. The Nielsen Norman Group offers consultation on usability of websites, consumer products and software designs.

Macromedia MX has three core components: a rich client, a J2EE server, and tools to enable clients to communicate with application servers when performing Web services.

It contains new features like components, which enable developers to use common application interfaces, including scrollbars, rich text fields, input buttons, radio buttons and check boxes, and list and combo boxes within their applications. Named anchors in Macromedia Flash content let end users move through the site using their browser navigation buttons.