Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tablet Computers Frustrate Designers

With the growing number of people choosing to browse the web with a tablet device instead of a conventional computer, the issue of web-site navigation creeps in. For years now, web-site designers have had a handle on the best way to integrate functional web-site navigation into any design. Now with the dawn of tablet computing all that knowledge has gone to waste.

For me, as a web-site designer myself, I have been raised on "hovering". The idea is simple... you move your mouse around screen until the courser or graphic visually shows you a "call to action". The call to action can be anything from a "mouse-over" effect to a drop down menu or a change in the courser graphic. Once you see the change you know you can then click. Unfortunately this simple yet effective way to help visitors navigate a web-site has gone out the window with tablets.

Tablet computers have no hover action. Everything is very static and you must design new web-sites with clicks for everything. For a designer, this means you must make your web-site deigns very button heavy with a logical "step-by-step" flow. To make matters worse, all manufacturers have their own set of "multi-gesture" touch patterns that result in the device reacting differently to the way you interact with your web-site. If you don't want to "Dumb-Down" your web-site navigation then you will be required to produce a "Mobile" version of your web-site design and a "Computer-Based" design for traditional / full interaction with the user. The end result gives the user the best environment for their chosen device, but clients must now pay web-site designers more for additional layouts and maintenance.

Tablet computing and web-site browsing will evolve over time, but right now it is shaking things up. navigation, native resolution, plug-ins and more are all handled differently with tablets and mobile devices. It is important that all web-site designs keep up to date with trends and how the bulk of users want to receive and interact with their favorite web-sites.

At Rood's Media we discuss all these options with our clients and continue to evolve with web-trends and industry standards. We understand that it is our job to inform our clients and empower them with the tools to help them make the right choices for their future web-site needs.

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