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Designing Websites for Touchscreen Devices

8 March 2012 2 Comments

Gone are the days of contemporary web design. As touchscreen devices are currently holding the highest interest among consumers, web designers are required to create some extravagant designs that can best support mobile devices. More consumers are using touchscreen devices now than ever before. Web designers need to adapt themselves to rapid changes in the Internet world and know what are important when migrating to a touch-based interface. Many trends are emerging among the web design community and most of them can be used to support the touchscreen technology.

Although Android and iOS devices are often discussed amongst tech gurus and mainstream media, they are not the only platforms in the mobile industry. Microsoft’s Windows Phone is slowly gaining higher market share and new mobile platforms could be released in the future. Now, web designers should see touchscreen display aside from contemporary input devices, such as mouse and keyboard. Traditionally, standard websites complete any task with media queries and JavaScript calls resulting in complicated return data. There has to be a new and better way towards adopting the new trend.

We can easily compare a 10” tablet with a netbook with similar display size, however we will immediately see some significant differences. Although they have roughly similar screen size, they operate in completely different ways. The operating systems are very different and tablets support new computing standards.

As touchscreen devices are offering much more flexibility, web designers can place scroll wheels and buttons anywhere since users can access them with a flick or touch. Designers can now have more control on the application functionality. SDKs for both Android and iOS offer many ways to manage touchscreen interactions and on some devices, designers can even use different pressure level for each interaction. However, touchscreen devices also remove many popular credentials web designers have all grown to love, for example, there‘s no way for designers to deal with hover states. Although it can be replaced with an action state when people long-press an interface element, the user experienced is vastly divergent. Touchscreen may appear to be more intuitive, but the lack of pointing device, such as a mouse, presents specific input problem, fingers are often less precise than mouse. It is quite frequent for users to click the wrong button, especially when those buttons are closely packed.

When planning a design layout for touchscreen, it is good idea to use clustered elements. It doesn’t mean that you need to cram all the elements and button on a webpage in a specific area of the page. In actuality, you should identify hotspots in a design and determine how to arrange the information. This reduces confusion and frustration among users. Instead of creating a long page that requires long scrolling, all essential page elements should be clustered within a single page.

Your website may fully support HTML5 and CSS3, but it may have some issues when displayed on touchscreen device. However, provided that user browser runs common DOM standards, it should be fine. iOS and Android come with their standard browsers but many more are available in their respective application markets. All latest mobile browsers can check HTML 5 attributes. Whenever possible, it is important to test the website layout in each platform, such as BlackBerry OS, Windows Phone, Android and iOS all have different browser implementation. Definitely, it would be difficult to please everyone all the time, even so, appeasing most of them is definitely a goal worth achieving for.

You should also implement Google analytics to determine the percentage of platforms that are used to visit your site. Google Analytics offers an incredibly detailed report, including which mobile platforms used to access your site in a given time.

analytics

Just like standard design process, you should make sure all elements are on track when designing a website for touchscreen devices. It is important to understand that there is less room for movements when designing a touch-based layout. Many designers try to re-position and change things too frequently. They need to remember that, it’s essential to come up with a layout that works well and offers a straightforward user experience. It may be challenging, but you should stick with your design sense before calling it a day.

Consider testing the design on your colleagues and friend and a quick run through of the web interface from outside perspectives usually garners useful feedback from a set of fresh minds. As touchscreen devices continue to proliferate among us, we will see a surge in touch-optimized website layout. A good knowledge on this field will set a web designer apart from others. Consider expanding your knowledge on touchscreen-optimized websites by visiting them regularly. Web interfaces for touch devices are still evolving and we will see innovative user interface like never before.

About: Raja Writes on SEO, Blogging, Web Design, Web Hosting. He regularly writes on Cheap Hosting Reviews at WebHostingReview.info

2 Comments »

  • KBharath said:

    Making a Website Mobile friendly is always a great idea and in these days all are going touch way and making a website touch screen friendly will make a website more professional.

  • wparena said:

    this s good… but I prefer responsive themes or templates for mobile devices because they fit with each resolution

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