Rich stands for the broad set of media supported by RIA's - multiple fonts, vector and bitmap graphic files, animations, online conferencing, audio and video are typical of many RIAs. Rich Internet applications (RIAs) offer a rich, engaging experience that improves user satisfaction and increases productivity. Using the broad reach of the Internet, RIAs can be deployed across browsers and desktops.
In today's global business environment, where customers are more demanding than ever and brand loyalty is increasingly difficult to obtain, deeper customer engagement is integral to an organization's success. RIAs can make customer interactions compelling, dynamic, and useful — in a word, engaging.
According to the findings, "firms that measure the business impact of their RIAs say that rich applications meet or exceed their goals." Specific findings demonstrate that improved ease of use for customer-facing RIAs "drives higher conversion rates and order size. More shoppers convert to buyers when they can easily trade off product options and costs in real time and because of increased ease of completing complex orders online, fewer customers give up."
Rich Internet Applications utilize relatively robust client-side rendering engines that can present very dense, responsive, and graphically rich user interfaces. In addition to offering a wider variety of controls (sliders, date pickers, windows, tabs, spinners, gauges, and so on), RIAs generally allow you to construct graphics on the fly with either Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) or some other mechanism. Some RIA technologies can even provide full-motion animations in response to data changes.
Another benefit of Rich Internet Application is that data can be cached in the client, allowing a vastly more responsive user interface and fewer round trips to the server than with HTML. For wireless and occasionally connected devices, the trend is definitely toward rich clients and away from text-based Web clients. Applications running on laptops can be designed to work offline or to at least degrade gracefully when connectivity is lost.