The Ideal XenApp User Experience - A few years back our usability and design teams started a comprehensive research project aimed at crafting the ideal user experience for XenApp. The results were not at all encouraging for Program Neighborhood. It turns out that the best thing we could do is to become invisible. Users want to get to their Apps so they can get work done. Our mission became to focus on a completely transparent user experience. Launching a XenApp delivered application should be like, or better then, launching a locally installed application. The new XenApp Plugin coupled with the Citrix Receiver and some core changes to XenApp around the way we launch applications are all under active development and are instrumental to helping us achieve this vision. Unfortunately there is no room, or need, for Program Neighborhood is this new model.
Program Neighborhood is the first user interface from the early WinFrame days. It’s basically a launch pad for XenApp delivered Apps. Users are always aware that they are launching a different type of application, one that is somehow different and delivered in a different way. The user experience term for this is “cognitive dissonance” or more commonly known as “Just plain confusing”. The PN interface has years of switches,options and settings that, while important at the time they were added, no longer have any real value and only provide a source of complexity and confusion for the user.
The XenApp Plugin - is designed to seamlessly integrate XenApp into the users environment. It does this by placing XenApp delivered shortcuts directly into the users StartMenu. These shortcuts are standard windows shortcuts and can be manipulated by the users in the same way. They can be copied on to the users desktop, or into their quicklaunch bar, etc … (See my video demo of this) The important point is that there is no special training involved, no additional program to launch and, in fact, no need for the user to know that the App is any different than other apps they use.
Some advanced answers to anticipated questions.
1: Are there additional requirements for the XA Plugin above and beyond what I need for Program Neighborhood?
* Yes. The XA Plugin requires the XenApp Web Interface Service to provide the web services that drive the user experience. If you already have Web Interface in your XenApp farm it’s simply a matter of creating an additional XenApp Services site on your WI Server.
2: When is this happening?
* Program Neighborhood will not be one of the Plugins offered in the componentized client that we are planning to release in late 2009.
3: I use Program Neighborhood as a diagnostic tool to connect directly to a Server. Will I still have this ability in the new Plugin?
* Probably. We are looking at options to provide similar functionality in the new client model. It may be a separate Plugin, a feature of the XenApp Plugin or something else.