5 Lessons from Tablets
by Kevin Makice
Brennan Browne, a user experience researcher at AnswerLab, started researching tablets about a month after the iPad was released in Spring 2010. By spending a lot of hours poking and prodding the devices with the hands of the people trying to use them, Browne observed three big trends.
First, iPads are becoming a replacement for traditional computers. While there are special tasks (e.g., entering a lot of text) for which a keyboard is better suited, tablets have become the go-to device for web browsing and reading. Second, since the tablet often becomes a shared device in a household or office, owners are more concerned about security. The interface design, therefore, comes under greater scrutiny, as poor design implies poor security. Finally, there needs to be a compelling reason for someone to move their attention from the web (which works quite well on a tablet) to an application. Developers must provide an experience that goes above and beyond the web equivalent.
Browne turned these and other research tidbits into five key lessons for design on a tablet:
- Apps should be designed to provide a full experience that is fun to use and beats the Web.
- People expect to access the full version of websites, even if the impulse is to detect the device as mobile.
- Because people don’t necessarily bring their iPads everywhere, location sensitivity is secondary to core functionality.
- Consider how interactions are affected by people sharing a device (e.g., one-click purchases)
NOTE: This is how I got Plants v. Zombies. My 1-year-old bought it for me shortly after I keyed in my password to update other apps.
- Because of risks of misplacing the device (among other things), people may be less likely to log in.
UX Magazine (August 5, 2011, by Brennan Browne)