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Size isn’t everything: Why the iPad isn’t just bigger; it’s a whole new UX, and how to design for it


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Exploring how the iPad shifts the mobile user experience paradigm, what this means to the iPhone, and how mobile applications can and will have to shift with it in order to become or remain successful.

Although they share an OS, the interactions offered by the iPad and it’s smaller siblings are very different. We will explore what these differences are, how they effect interaction, and why they demand distinct solutions that embrace and exploit the unique challenges, variations and opportunities between the two in order to deliver enjoyable, satisfying and successful user experiences.

Published in: Technology, News & Politics
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Size isn’t everything: Why the iPad isn’t just bigger; it’s a whole new UX, and how to design for it

  1. Adam R.T. Smith CEO/ Director of Experience Design
  2. Why the iPad matters (to me) • Digital sketchbook • Digital design portfolio • Design/ document/ web demos & reviews • Reading books • Consuming news • Projector connectivity • Work at coffee shops • But, in less than a month, it has become my go-to device for almost everything but design
  3. The iPad deserves a new user experience.
  4. Core differences across the IP3 Just because they share an OS, does not make them the same
  5. iPod Touch iPhone 3GS iPhone 4 iPad 600mhz 600mhz 1000mhz 1000mhz Processor ARM ARM A4 A4 RAM 256mb 256mb 512mb 256mb 3.5" 3.5" 3.5" 9.7" Screen 320 x 480 320 x 480 960 x 640 1024 x 768 Wi-Fi a/b/g/ Wi-Fi b/g Wi-Fi b/g/n Wi-Fi b/g n Network Bluetooth Bluetooth Bluetooth Bluetooth 3G 3G 3G* Format Handheld Handheld Handheld Slate 0.68 kg Weight 4.05 ounces 4.8 ounces 4.8 ounces 0.73 kg 6hrs/ 5hrs/ 6hrs/ 10hrs / Battery ?? 300hrs 300hrs Month
  6. iPhone iPad Anywhere & everywhere; Less distracting environments; busy streets, boardrooms, public Environmental transit, living room, coffee shops, office, low-interruption environments high-interruption environments Engaged, deep interactions, Fast, quick & dirty interactions, immersive consumption, Situational open, get what you need & put away organic & exploratory browsing, focussed task completion When I need to *___*. When I want to *___* Psychological / Relational Personal in sense of Personal in sense of “mine alone” “depth of interaction” Personal & private, Public & exposed, Social/ hidden in hand, on table, or in lap, Cultural incognito sharing & demonstrating Anything, Pre-Existing Smartphone everything, Mental Model & more
  7. What makes the iPad a category in itself? Why is the slate format such a paradigm shift.
  8. What sets the iPad apart? • It's the first mass-market large-scale touch device • It makes modal UI's work through orientation • It sits in a new niche between a Smartphone and a computer • It's a unique casual computer (for now) • It brings desktop class UI elements to a mobile touch platform (pop-outs overlays, multi-pane interfaces, fly-in editor pseudo-windows, etc.) • UI & physical design lets the iPad get out of the way and lets users dive deeper into reading, watching, & processing information & content - the entire device is a display case for software & content • It's as close as we’ve come to a WYSIWYG computing platform
  9. Benefits of "bigger" • Less cluttered interfaces • More content viewable at a time • Allows the content to BE the interface • Affords for new, non-conventional immersive experiences • Begets sharing / co-experiences • Allows users to more easily tackle more complex actions while maintaining the task-focus of the iPhone • More usable keyboard (in landscape)
  10. Drawbacks of "bigger" • Distance between interface elements (tab bar to app header buttons) can reduce efficiency • Find-ability of buttons can be more troublesome due to size of element relative to the screen • Tendency of designers to use print, and other real-world object metaphors due to available screen real-estate • Give a man an inch, he’ll take a foot • It will probably get worse before it gets better
  11. What does this mean for the average user? A new way to compute, to interact, and to experience content, tasks & communications
  12. The iPad will change the way people use other devices • The iPad creates a computing ecosystem (create / find / consume & process) • Think GTD • Users will exploit the most appropriate device for their current need based on how it let's them interact • The iPhone will become more of an information hunting, foraging, and collection medium • The iPhone will be used less for complex task completion, and more for social interactions, discovery, data input (photos, videos, 2D barcodes), and immediate and emergency tasks and activities
  13. The iPad will change the way people use their other devices cont. • Perform exploratory and organic web browsing tasks on iPad • The iPad is better suited to media consumption, book reading, web browsing, news, video watching than iPhone or computer • The iPad is a shared-experience device • The iPad, once apps catch up, will become a more robust task completion platform, taking over more and more of what is considered currently “mobile” and even "desktop" domain • the iPhone will be the input source, the iPad the output source for the world of information that surrounds the user
  14. Devices as lenses • The device scale and capabilities are directly relational to their optimal use: • Desktops/ laptops = Hubble telescope • Netbooks = personal telescope, cropped • Mobile phone = macro lens • iPhone/ iPod Touch = wide angle lens • iPad = 1:1 - closest thing to paper
  15. What does this mean for App designers & developers? How do we exploit the inherent benefits and variances across the IP3
  16. iPad Apps & iPhone Apps • Some of the most used 3rd party apps on my iPhone are “app-ified” sites (Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, CIBC) • None have been synced to my iPad - the full websites provide a better experience given the size of the screen • The apps I have installed are more related to watching, reading, and dealing with media and information • Many of the first wave of iPad Apps are ports, or simply scaled-up versions of iPhone App concepts • Some offer unique iPad experiences, but most don’t go far enough
  17. Some Apps “get it” • OmniGraffle - a diagraming app that allows you to do almost as much as the desktop version • Popplet - innovative visual idea-mapping solution • Pages - write most of my documents on the iPad now • Keynote - mapped, created, and presented this entire presentation • The Elements - a UX that truly exploits the capabilities of the iPad • Instapaper - changed how we use the Web • Pulse - changed the way we see RSS • Scrabble - unique iPad - iPhone integration
  18. Where do we go from here? • Ported iPhone Apps don’t work • iPad Apps aren’t desktop Apps either • Desktop Apps, paper, other and real-world object metaphors shouldn’t work - but may bring more engaging and playfulness to large scale touch • Don’t omit features to make products more iPhone centric, or add features to justify an iPad version: provide full featured,targeted experiences with device-specific interaction models • If we don’t consider the iPad as a unique category of device, why bother creating iPad specific Apps at all?
  19. Where do we go from here? • iPad use affords the user more time, patience, and less distractions than walking down the street using an iPhone app • Designers & developers need to re-imagine their app experiences from the ground up • When designing iPad Apps, think more Norman, less Nielsen • Simplify. Reduce. Remove. • Focus the value proposition, focus the audience, focus the activity. Loose everything else. • Tailor Apps to not only the unique size, software and hardware, but the unique ways people can and should interact with the iPad • Let users fingerpaint a masterpiece
  20. Conclusion • The iPad is a clean slate • Users are new to the iPad, but so are designers and developers • We're at the tip of the iceberg • If you're planning an iPad App, ask yourself why it can only be on the iPad. If you can't answer that question, stop. • It's our responsibility to extend this new paradigm, and take the iPad and slate based computing to the next level
  21. The future is big Designers & developers will shape this new platform. It's our responsibility to make it awesome.