Products in the PCM space are not known for usability, which many analysts predict is going to be a big trend now. These product vendors could do well by incorporating AJAX in their products. Some of the simple applications that can use this are:
1. Defining and configuring users, groups and roles. In one of the leading commercial products, if I have to search for a particular user based on name, there are three full page refreshes involved because there are three combo boxes and values in one box depends on value selected in the previous combo box. Apart from this, any functionality that has multiple combo boxes and multiple refreshes could use this technique.
2. For CMS products, spell check and preview functionality for editors could be implemented using AJAX. So an author can actually see the preview as he is typing. Okay that is not too convenient but you get the idea 🙂
There are many many more features that can be implemented in this way. However, one must exercise caution because AJAX has its own set of issues and should not be considered as panacea for all usability issues. Its very easy to use AJAX in such a way that usability actually decreases!! There are issues about security, browser buttons and bookmarking, among others. There is a good list of mistakes that people make here. I also suspect many vendors will need to put in considerable amount of effort to redesign their interfaces. However, if implemented carefully, I think that there is a lot that can be gained.