Over the past month the iPad has achieved worldwide fame. It is the latest must have gadget which has been deemed the successor of laptops and netbooks for accessing the web on the move. Promoted as a natural and intuitive way to access websites, and to view content such as books and media, how does the iPad affect the way business websites are designed and viewed?
Reviews of the iPad have been mixed; positive reviews speak of its wonderful, intuitive touch based way to access websites, with some enthusiasts even suggesting that it is the best way to experience websites. Web Design geeks however have been less than enthusiastic, feeling that it renders websites unusable, while the print media industry has billed the iPad as its “salvation”. What cannot be denied is that the iPad (for the foreseeable future at least) is here to stay, and expert web designers are now beginning to design websites specifically for the iPad.
For those who aren’t familiar with it the iPad is a mobile tablet computer; it has no mouse and no keyboard. The iPad is usable in different locations, and users view websites and content through touch, using their fingers to zoom in and out to access links. The context of the iPad – how and where people use it – has become incredibly important to expert web designers and is the biggest contributor to the effectiveness of your business’s website as a promotional and developmental tool.
The iPad frees up users from the standardised and defined ways of viewing and interacting with websites. Users can view sites in landscape or in portrait modes and can zoom in and out to site pages as it suits them. This means that if you want your website to be accessible and usable on the iPad, your web designer needs to create two different layouts for your site which encompass fluid width design.
Using the iPad in various different locations, inside and outside also brings with it many disadvantages. The screen of the iPad is glossy which reflects light and can interrupt a user’s interactions with the content which is displayed on websites. Contrasts used on websites are also affected by where and how an iPad user chooses to view the websites, colours can be affected and content and text misinterpreted.
For all its negatives, the sheer popularity of the iPad indicates that the future of web browsing may well lie in computerised tablets which massively affects how websites are designed and built. Complex website design is becoming obsolete; instead expert web designers are creating web designs which are more interactive and intuitive. The iPad is establishing the future of website design.
Above all else, websites do not and need not look the same on every platform. A design that works well on a desktop pc will not translate effectively onto a mobile device such as the iPad. Future proofing your business and your website means finding a website designer that promotes intuitive web design. An expert web designer who creates lasting websites understands that your site needs to be accessible not only on desktop PCs but also through tablet and other mobile devices.
Here is a great article by Jonathan Strickland from HowStuffWorks.com about some possible future approaches to Web 3.0
As the future of the world wide web develops and becomes more intuitive and interactive, so too do the websites which populate it. Responsive businesses need responsive websites...