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Sorry for the long dely in getting this post out. With the holidays and my project at work winding down (which oddly enought means work longer/harder) I really have not had much time to sit down and put togher a solid post.
****** NOTE ******
On to the post............
When it comes to designing the user experience for a tablet based
application all/most conventional ideas appear to go out the window.
However, if you really think about it, they do not. A goal of any
application (in respect to user experience) must be simplicity and ease
of use. One large downside to developing for most tablet based
application is screen resolution. On the tablet 800x600 is about all
you get. Compare this to most other apps which are designed for
1024x768 and you will see a lot of your design ideas have to be
Everything is bigger
one thing that you MUST take into account when designing a tablet based
application is that everything must be larger than normal. This
includes things such as icons, buttons, text boxes, labels, etc. The
reason for this is 2 fold. First, because most tablet based
applications are meant to be used on the 'go' or in front of clients
and you want to make sure that everything is in easy reach. Second,
because the user is using some sort of pen as a pointing device, and
not a mouse, you will need to make everything larger so it is easier to
One way to look at the UI design of tablet applications is to think of it as looking cartoonish or being bubblegumish.:)
In a standard application a button control may have a size of 100 x 23
a tablet button control may be 150 x 50. The 50% increase in size will
allow for users to more easily access the different features of the
application. You will find the same thing with text boxes, especially
if you are using inking. These text boxes may be 200x50 and you will
only be able to get 4-6 of them on a form. Compare this to a standard
application where you can get dozens of text boxes on a form if need be.
Less is more/K.I.S.S.
of the standard pitfalls in application development in information
overload. I once worked on an application that was said to have more UI controls this an airplane cockpit. When designing the UI
layout for tablet applications you MUST keep it simple. As I stated
above, most of the time the users of your application are going to be
on the go so you must keep that amount of stuff on a given screen to a
minimum. This means that some of your favorite controls such as the
tree view, menus, tool bars, combo boxes (standard ones that is),
fly-out panels are really not useable.
designing the layout for a tablet application you must be 100%
consciences of the K.I.S.S principle at all time. Unfortunately, the UI cannot be ultra slick, or cutting edge. It is best to have the UI layout be simple, concise and do only what is needed an nothing more.
Even though the UI
layout for a tablet is a little more challenging then other
applications, it is still possible to have a slick, clean and
professional presentation layer that gets the job done and allows for
your users to have a greatexperience. However, in order to achieve
this, you need to be a little patient and be willing to forgo using
your favorite controls or be willing to try something completely
different in terms of design for a Tablet application.
Until next time where I talk about Inking......
01-17-2007 6:38 AM