Is it too optimistic or are tablet computers the future? Facts reveal that tablet usage will be rapidly increased in the next few years.
An internal discussion about tablet usability rules made me write this post and talk about tablet usage. When we design a new interface, our concern is to make the website work for both conventional computers; desktops & laptops, and tablets. This is what we call Tablet Friendly Websites.
So, I decided to look into what has been written about tablets so far.
Although tablet computers have been in the market more than a decade now, Apple managed to change market rules by introducing the iPad in April 2010.
Some interesting facts reveal peoples current and future trends with tablet computers:
- Europeans are mainly using their devices in house; living room, bedroom & kitchen. However, it is estimated that large enterprises will soon introduce tablets at the work place.
- People also prefer to use tablets on the road; e.g. buses, train, airline flights, when anticipate long wait periods. It is preferable to use tablets than laptops, as they weigh less and have longer battery life.
- People are using their tablet mainly for entertainment and not for work. AlphaWise, Morgan Stanley Research (a year ago) reveals that people prefer to use tablets for consuming information and media such as reading news, magazines & ebooks, and listening to music.
- British spend an average of 2.8 hours on their tablet daily, setting British people as the heaviest users among other European countries.
- Last but not least, almost half of tablet users are in their middle age (30-49), which is reasonable, as this age range can afford to buy a tablet.
Have tablets affected users’ behaviour?
- Users’ habits have slightly evolved. People spend more time on watching long term videos & reading news than before.
What are the future trends?
- “35.6% of all internet users will use an iPad at least monthly, by 2014” (research conducted by eMarketer)
The above mentioned points show that tablet usage will be increased and potentially affect certain market areas, in the near future.
It goes without saying that your website should be tablet friendly, especially if it belongs under the news & entertainment umbrella; including videos, images & articles.
So, while designing a tablet friendly website some basic usability rules need to be followed are:
- Hover state. Avoid critical interactions and effects which work only on mouse over. For instance, mega-navs or accordions which open on hover state will be disabled on a tablet.
- Clickable areas. It is necessary to make clear what is clickable. The lack of hover state doesn’t allow users to mouse over the page to find links & buttons.
- Tap finger issues. Touchable areas need to be big enough to tap. In many websites, and apps, many areas are too small to tap or very close to other and the possibility to select the wrong one is increasing.
- Flash issues. There are many reasons why you should avoid using flash on your website, but the main one is that iPad; the market leader, doesn’t support flash.