July 09, 2012
According to VentureBeat, TV took some time to emerge from the shadow of radio as a broadcast medium, and the tablet may also take a while to find "its own format and distinctive voice."
Tablets offer unique viewing and interaction opportunities that traditional desktop and laptop computers cannot, and a more comfortable experience in many ways than smartphones on the mobile front. Additionally, the tablet is more appealing to a broader demographic, according to the news source, as it is easier to use for those who have poor eyesight or developing/weakening motor control. Ease of use, portability and multi-use options give tablets a leg up on other devices, but also create unique opportunities and challenges for graphical user interface design, whether for the web or mobile apps.
For designers, the tablet marks an important step in both creating a mobile experience for users and a positive public image. Soaring adoption rates both for consumers and businesses mean that the tablet is becoming an important venue to interact with the world, and apps should reflect that. Creating a low-quality app could be damaging to revenue streams and reputation, so improving digital design in new ways is key to not only providing a new and innovative experience, but a memorable one as well.
One of the main changes to digital GUI design that the tablet has introduced is a more game-like attitude to computing. Touchscreens improve user interaction, allowing the user to participate with the product, whether a website or mobile application, rather than simply view it. In order to create a more immersive environment, the product should provide not only content, but a creative aspect as well, allowing customization and more user-influence than a PC can.
Additionally, when developing content designed primarily for tablets, the creator should keep in mind the flexibility of use. Consumers can use their tablets anywhere, from the train to the couch, and the design of content should emulate this flexibility. An app should be just as usable on the go as it is when relaxing at home, providing the highest levels of quality in each scenario.
The larger screens and resolutions of tablets also mean users are more likely to take their tablets on vacation than a laptop, increasing storage space and making more room for souvenirs and other luxuries. At the same time, tablets are being used more in business because of their portability. This allows professionals to take their computers with them around the office, rather than constantly be tethered to a desk. Any content should be suitable for both scenarios, providing a professional experience while remaining relaxed.
Ultimately, the use of a website or app is determined by the design and functionality of its features, and tablets are changing the shape and scale of that usability. Mobile computing in general provides more constant connection to the web, and maximizing the user experience during that connectivity is key to creating a lasting and popular design.