Remember the cool interactive UI imagined in “Minority Report”? Well, guess what? It’s already here, and although it won’t become a household staple for many, many years yet, there’s no denying that it’s coming, and that we need to be prepared for it. Cut to the present, and consider that while Apple’s iPad has clearly become the front-runner in the space, the growing popularity of the “tablet” is forcing designers to think very differently about how they architect for the web. And it’s amazing how quickly everything is changing.
Layouts & CSS – Far beyond simply ensuring that your site looks good in all major browsers, now the concern has to be “does the site translate correctly on varying hardware + x software configurations + y screen resolutions + z horizontal AND vertical landscape orientation. Styling rules just got a LOT more sophisticated…
The Fold is Dead! – The aesthetic of the tablet requires that content be fully in the view frame with a minimum of tactile tweaking required to take it all in. “Scrolling” on a tablet makes absolutely no sense. It’s designed for quick delivery of smaller content chunks leading to a click or a page turn. “Thank you, Fold. That’ll do. Pick up your check at the door.”
Finger Poppin’ Good – In a world where minimize, maximize, click and turn calls will all be made by human appendages, a completely different set of design parameters will be required to make the user experience a satisfying one. Sites designed to be interfaced via good old fashioned point & click devices must now be re-imagined for the ubiquitous tablet user who will be experiencing it (largely) with his/her fingers.
It’s invigorating to see such a sweeping shift in design requirements for the cool new tools that are coming our way. Are you using a tablet yet? If not, do you think you will at some point? And if you already are, what has your user experience been thus far?