Web design for touch screen / iPad and tablet computers

The recent launch of apples iPad has finally given the kick start needed for web designers to start baring touch screen systems in mind when developing. Although touch screen and tablet computers are nothing new and Windows 7 was originally announced as a touch screen ready operating system, now that apple have had their say it seems the design community are starting to stand up and take notice (anything to do with the designers cool clicky trend towards using macs I wonder?).

At in LIFE we have been designing with touch screen in the back of our minds for the past 2 years but its now time to bring it firmly to the frontal lobe and really start taking it seriously. With techniques such as the use of touch flow javascripts, large finger sized icons and a magazine-like navigation theres no more room for small text buttons and busy screens, the magazine look will be the way to go.

Theres also the age old discussion of liquid layouts, static layouts, above the fold, below the fold and scrolling etc to consider! Rest assured tablets are set to be used more like a magazine or newpaper for reading current updates and e-books so you can expect web design to move towards this style and orientation too. The iPad and HP tablet computers set to be flooding out over the next 12 months will all be to be around 10cm wide and users will expect to flip through pages as they would a book.

With this in mind white pages and magazine style website blocks are going to be a useful design technique using subtle and side based animated content bringing the users experience to life within that page by zooming out larger graphics, animations or videos with tools such as lightbox popups to ensure the user doesn’t have to leave the page their on to see related content.

Media and animation will need to be embedded subtly bringing each page subtly and smartly to life, enhancing but not distracting from the ever important content. Pretty much the way good designers implement media content now but just that more refined.

One question still yet to have its fate decided is the use of flash. Adobe insist this will continue, but apple still refuse to support it which also isn’t helped by the recent advancing silver light and html 5 technology, so will flash finally die? Either way users will want their content to be brought to life and fast, so html 5 will be set to play a big part in designing for tablet computers.

For now rest assure at inLIFEDesign we’ve got our fingers literally on the touch screen pulse.