With Web applications the maxim of “keep it simple” is always worth remembering because it is hard to go from complex and then simplify to meet the demands of users. The opposite, going from simple to complex is much easier and has an advantage: Simple should be easy to understand.
A good example of a simple Web application that is easy to understand is Pagii (pronounced “pay-ghi”). Pagii is a free Web application published by Freewebs that provides an AJAX-based user interface for Web page construction that pretty much anyone can understand.
After signing up and providing some basic info (curiously for such a service your existence isn’t confirmed by e-mail opt-in) you can select a template and then modify it to your heart’s content. The system provides drag and drop element positioning; in-place editing; font and text attribute setting and animation; graphics; inclusion of uploaded images as well as by retrieval from Flikr, Photobucket, and Pyzam; and free clipart from Pagii and the Web.
You can allow messages to be posted using the message board feature and much like MySpace and other social networking services you can be registered as friends with other users.
To see a Pagii site you have to be a registered user, which is unfortunate, but justified by Freewebs as the way that they are trying to build a user base. I would have thought that the value of the service as an incredibly simple and effective Web content creation system would sell the service much more effectively if seen by many people.
It will be interesting to see how Pagii evolves over the next few months. I think that the idea is powerful enough to really go somewhere, but exactly where depends on how Pagii is developed and what it can interoperate with or support. For example, Pagii could become a MySpace content generator and manager.
As I said, keeping it simple can be a powerful strategy, and Pagii embraces that concept to good effect.