I wrote previously about desktop versus web applications… or a hybrid of both. There are definite trends towards providing users with richer clients.
Forrester Research has done a usability comparison between Rich Internet apps and HTML apps, in a report entitled Smackdown: Rich Internet Applications Versus HTML. (Note: Forrester considers Rich Internet to be Flex, Ajax, and other interactive Web technologies).
Forrester reviewed 22 Web applications across four categories: hotel search and reservation engines, mapping tools, PC configurators, and product finders. Interestingly, Forrester’s found that only 5 of the 22 apps passed their usability test… and all 5 were Rich Internet apps.