Tablet PCs, such as Apple’s iPad, are emerging as popular “all-in-one” devices. Small enough to fit into a purse, but powerful enough to sustain long-term computer use (though I wouldn’t recommend typing on it without an auxiliary keyboard), these devices bridge the gap between smartphones and laptops when it comes to computing power, and are capable of doing most, if not all, typical computing tasks.
High-powered desktops will likely always be needed for super-computing tasks, and many games require far too many resources for a tablet PC to handle them; however, the tablet PC is nonetheless becoming a popular device for mid-ranged computing tasks such as web browsing and artistic expression. Here are three reasons your website’s initial design or re-design should focus on these devices.
Market Share of Tablet PCs Expected to Rise (With Desktop Expected to Take the Hit)
Perhaps the best, simplest reason to focus on the tablet PC for future websites is that they are popular, especially the Apple iPad. Mobile devices, including the tablet PC, already account for over 10 percent of Web traffic, and this number is only going to go up as more and more brands develop and release tablet PC models each and every day. While I wouldn’t go so far as to claim that the desktop is obsolete, I do agree with many assessments stating that mobile web browsing is becoming, to put it mildly, kind of important.
Low-Resolution Images Look Fuzzy on iPad
The standard practice for making websites faster on desktop has been to use the lowest resolution of image possible in order to limit file size of each webpage and associated resources. The reason for this is pretty simple: Faster load times are rewarded by Google and other search engines, and the typical desktop user wants instant or near-instant access. However, while the difference in resolution isn’t noticeable on a typical desktop, it is noticeable on a tablet PC. There is a distinct lack of “crispness” in a low-resolution image, which could be problematic for images where the details are important, such as infographics and product shots. It may seem like a small issue, but it can mean the difference between a professional-looking site and a site that feels “off” or amateurish.
By focusing on the tablet PC first, many web developers have already figured out ways to quickly load the website, and insert the crisper, higher-resolution image later, after the lower-resolution image and website have loaded. The result is that the site loads quickly with “blurry” images, which are then updated just a few moments later with crisp, clean images.
Tablet Websites Translate Well to Desktop (But Not the Other Way Around)
A tablet PC has a lot in common with desktop computers when it comes to how a website can be designed. With a significantly larger screen than mobile devices, tablet PCs can, in fact, support fully functional websites. However, while the current practice is to simply resize the desktop website so that it fits on a tablet PC screen, this does not translate nearly as well as if the desktop website was translated from the tablet PC website. This is because the tablet PC relies on its touch screen for navigation, and therefore buttons need to be sufficiently large for a human finger to be able to select a given option with precision and consistency.
Additionally, there are bandwidth, screen size, and processing power limitations on a tablet PC compared to desktop PC, and these limitations result in slow-loading, overcrowded websites when a made-for-desktop website is simply scaled to fit the tablet screen. Working within these limitations in the initial design of the site, and then allowing that website to simply scale up for desktop PC, would make websites cleaner and faster on all devices, with desktop load times being especially lightning-fast.
Though the mobile market may still only account for 10 percent of web traffic, we believe that the tablet PC will cause that number to steadily rise. Now is the opportunity to start reconsidering how your company approaches websites, so that when the major shift begins to happen, you are ahead of the game. Call RevBuilders today for more information.