In my previous post All Eyes Are On The iPad. Are Yours? I noted how the iPad was setting the stage for a publishing revolution with its transformational user experience. How have I come to this bold prediction? Three key signs have led me to the belief we’re on the cusp of a publishing revolution in short order.
- Tablet computers are currently the next must have device.
- Touchscreen interaction / navigation will be spreading to traditional computers
- Touchscreen interaction / navigation is defining an entire new branch of user interaction & user experience
Must Have Device
If you haven’t noticed already there are iPad giveaways around every corner. Apple’s iPad has captured the imagination of millions of people by changing how they interact with content on the web. This same fervor hit consumers in the 80’s with the mouse and here in the 2010’s touchscreen technology is making online viewing less abstract and physically more interactive. Apple’s ability to hit it big with the iPad, as with their other successful product launches, inevitably results in competitors releasing cheaper takeoffs. Odds are if you know someone who wants a gadget for Christmas they’ll be asking for an iPad. If an iPad isn’t in the budget you can bet that your local retailer like BestBuy will be selling a variety of competitors to fill the void.
Expect Touchscreen Interaction on Your Computer
Mobile devices are an intuitive place to utilize touchscreen technology. Mobile devices with their small footprint must be compact for portability while walking a fine line to provide an easy to view screen with easy navigation capabilities. Ask a child to view something on a computer and their first reaction invariably will be to point to the screen. This exemplifies the simplest navigation tool available… our fingers. As mobile devices become ubiquitous amongst younger generations such navigation is not only going to become intuitive, but expected.
The difference between a 3.5 inch (9 cm) and a 9.75 inch (24.5 cm) diagonal touchscreen of an iPhone & iPad may seem less than notable, but the increase in real estate to present text, images and video is huge. Everything (navigation cues, graphics, buttons, etc.) becomes easier to identify, touch, and move. Larger screen sizes also create greater opportunity for new and innovative navigation and presentation layers. This type of content interaction is not likely to be lost on traditional computers with even larger screens, as recently surfaced Apple patent filings of a touchscreen iMac confirm we’ll be seeing more of this style of interaction on future computers.
Evolution of Web Use & Design Standards
In a recent edition of Wired magazine it was prognosticated that the web is dead.
Over the past few years, one of the most important shifts in the digital world has been the move from the wide-open Web to semiclosed platforms that use the Internet for transport but not the browser for display. It’s driven primarily by the rise of the iPhone model of mobile computing, and it’s a world Google can’t crawl, one where HTML doesn’t rule. And it’s the world that consumers are increasingly choosing, not because they’re rejecting the idea of the Web but because these dedicated platforms often just work better or fit better into their lives (the screen comes to them, they don’t have to go to the screen). The fact that it’s easier for companies to make money on these platforms only cements the trend. – The Web Is Dead. Long Live the Internet
How the data is parsed to come to this conclusion is questionable in my book (video is not considered the web? really!? What about YouTube?), but this Wired article in general raises an interesting premise and should make you think twice about how you’re experiencing the web today and how you & your audience might be experiencing it in the future.
The iPad, being the first out of the gate, will have a disproportionate amount of influence on design standards and user experience trends for the touchscreen oriented content. Knowing these standards and understanding how users are interacting with online content is critical whether that content resides in a web page, app, peer-to-peer site, etc. The question then raised is how does your web site translate to a touchscreen device like an iPad? In case you were unaware iPadPeek is a great way to see (just be sure you disable Flash on your browser first). The even bigger question is how will your audience be viewing the content you produce and publish online?
Will traditional web sites hold up? Will apps be the dominant channel of online publishing? Will mobile viewing overtake traditional computer viewing? I have a notion of how things will play out in the future and it centers on a maturing model of revenue generation, but details to this thought will have to wait for the next post in this series Thoughts on the iPad: Cracking the Code to Web Revenue? Stay tuned…
[tags]photography, Apple, iPad, publishing[/tags]