A widget is a technical term for an application that can be embedded into a third party site (e.g. a webpage, blog, smartphone or profile on social media sites). Many users of social networking sites take advantage of widgets to make their sites more interesting and practical for their visitors. Widgets often take the form of on-screen devices (clocks, event countdowns, daily weather, games etc.).
See Widgets in action
The FDA Peanut-Containing Product Recall widget allows you to browse the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) database of peanut butter and peanut-containing products subject to the 2009 recall of peanut butter products. This database was released during the 2009 recall of peanut butter contaminated with Salmonella. It made it easier for the general public to determine whether any of the products they had at home were subject to recalls, and it was updated as new information became available.
Advantages of Widgets
- The content in a widget can be updated automatically, ensuring access to up-to-date content.
- Widgets can easily be added to partner pages or social media sites to provide an interactive experience, fresh content, and engagement with important health topics.
Disadvantages of Widgets
- Not all browsers support scripts, this may cause users to experience difficulties if no other alternatives are provided.
- A large amount of quality assurance testing is required. This is because different browsers and browser versions support scripts differently.
- More development time and effort might be required.
- Although developers have more control over the look and feel of their widget, usability problems can arise if widgets look like a standard control but behave differently.