March 3, 2010

Will the iPad Change Web Design?


Hostway Team

By CC Pearce

There is no doubt that the iPad will continue the ever-changing format of Web design. The question is whether the iPad will revolutionize Web design as significantly as mobile devices like the iPhone and Droid have.

Bridging the Gap

The iPad is a bridge between the two traditional systems of online computing—the computer and the phone. The iPad will be the first great chance for Web designers to harmonize the aspects that consumers enjoy about the two different platforms.

The advantages to mobile device design are minimalism, clarity and ease of navigation. Sites redesigned for mobile platforms have fewer, bolder buttons and layout takes precedent over flash (no Adobe pun intended).

The advantages to a traditional computing platform include flexibility, processing power and bandwidth speed. More powerful applications can be run on a computer and serviced by an Internet service provider.

The Best of Both Worlds

The role of Web design on the iPad will incorporate the best of both worlds — a focus on content and layout with elements of subtle style; navigation that is simple, intuitive and speedy; and applications that utilize the geolocation and innovation of mobile devices, but require more processing power.

A key element in the Web design for the iPad will be for designers to incorporate the element of touch. With 10 fingers replacing a single cursor and a screen big enough to fit all those fingers, new levels of interactivity will emerge. Swiping, rotating and jiggling are all motions that could have new functions if Web designers take them into account.

While many of these novelties may initially be for diversion, practical functions will emerge. Imagine the ease of turning pictures for someone to see who is looking on a tablet or the ability to push page elements into a new organization based on personal preferences.

Interactive Elements

Since Apple continues to neglect Flash, Web design for the iPad and other tablets will likely find alternate methods for interactive media. HTML5 and future Web standards will become more versatile and allow for complicated scripting that will inevitably outperform current Flash standards.

The iPad should soon be able to incorporate other peripherals, which will also affect Web design. Video chat may become an easily integrated stable of many sites, especially social networking sites. With this in mind, site layout will have to accommodate burgeoning trends with space and functionality.

While it is impossible to determine how Web design will evolve through the iPad, it will no doubt create a significant ripple through the current standards and challenge designers to maximize their functionality on tablet platforms.

About the Author

CC Pearce is a post production coordinator at Michael Eisner's new media production company Tornante. He is also a co-producer of the comedy production team The Outside Joke.

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