Tablet computers are considered mobile devices; however, they offer many of the same display advantages of desktop computers. As a result, they don’t necessarily require a mobile version to display content in a way users can still easily interact with that smartphones do. The result is that while not all brands need a mobile website, they should design their main website to be touch-friendly.
From a Web development perspective there are certainly more variables to consider when it comes to producing a touch-friendly website design. But generally speaking, designing a to be website touch-friendly requires 2 key adjustments: (1) creating bigger target areas and (2) simplifying your layouts.
Bigger Target Areas
Traditional desktop computing relies on a keyboard and mouse. These tools allow you to interact with smaller targets more easily. Fingers do not. Well, not all fingers anyway.
To minimize the ‘fat finger’ effect, it’s important that buttons and target elements that users interact with be designed for people to actually touch them instead of using a mouse.
The easiest transition to touch-friendly design is to create larger buttons. However, you should also consider eliminating redundant or unneeded navigation tools (i.e. side bar navigation) and/or replacing them with others (i.e. breadcrumb navigation).
Clean and simple navigation methods with large target areas also allow you to better compensate for the myriad sizes of tablet screen sizes currently on the market.
The biggest challenge with many websites designed before tablet computers became so popular was the massive amount of information (text, images, buttons, and links) placed on a page – especially the Home page.
The idea was simple – put as much as you can in front of the user in hopes that s/he would stay on the site longer. However, the result didn’t necessarily match the intent as users learned how to tune out the visual noise.
Now, with tablet computers, users want (and expect) a more open, less cluttered user experience (and interface design). And in turn, we’re seeing a resurgence of many of the design principles taught to print designers – like the use of white space.
A ‘less-is-more’ design mentality creates an aesthetic that is more comfortable and inviting to users. It also forces marketers to think smarter about how they want users to interact with their site, as opposed to just throwing more at them.
From a GUI perspective, designing a website to be touch-friendly is pretty straight-forward, so long as you account for the user experience that tablet computers require.
About Bicycle Theory
Bicycle Theory is a brand marketing company located in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, MN. Bicycle Theory provides strategic and tactical brand marketing services, including Web design and development, Internet marketing, brand strategy, and identity building.
Tags: Touch-Friendly Design