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The Tablet Revolution

After another boxed lunch it’s time to settle in for a panel discussion on the tablet revolution featuring Saya Behnam from Design 4UX, Dave Dubé from Cisco Systems, Steve Potash from OverDrive and Sucharita Mulpuru from Forrester is moderating.

Sucharita opens up with a question on responsive design. Are we moving to a world where responsive is the norm?

Steve Potash says he’s tired of apps and he wants to move to the web (html + responsive). He’s tired of all the BS of working with all the hassles of different standards.

What has to happen for companies to move away from apps? Steve says better HTML5 and responsive designs will change the tide. As responsive gets better apps will seem like too much work.

David says the other side of the coin is that people spend more times with apps than they do on the mobile web.

Sucharita says that it depends on the use, in retail people are fine using the mobile web.

What are people spending on creating for the mobile web?

The range is huge, from a few thousand to a few hundred thousand for an app says Saya.

Susharita asks about the technical hurdles and Steve says he wishes all of the DRM issues would go away to make it easier for peole to just “see book, read book”. Right now libraries have too many steps to simply read an ebook or listen to an audio book.

Dave says that stuff like the $199 Google Nexus 7 is encroaching on the e-readers with so much more functionality. The devices will find new ways into our everyday life.

Sucharita asks Steve about the future of the iPad, is it on the decline? Steve says for people using the device for e-reading at public libraries it is. The Kindle Fire is growing like crazy, but iPad is still the majority.

Should mobile include table? Steve says – meh, maybe? It depends on what you really want to measure.

Question from the audience about auxiliary functionality like audio and video. Saya says that when you need specialized functionality you need an app, but “normal” functionality is fine on the mobile web.

Does ubiquitous network availability change anything? Dave from Cisco says that we’re slowly getting there. Even a lot of the trains now offer wifi.

Some good geek talk about moving from things like “hover” to being more finger centric. For example buttons smaller than 44px can be problematic on a table. Fonts need to be slightly bigger and line-spacing also needs to expand. Any time a visitor has to pinch or zoom means you’re not designing well enough for that device.

Question from the audience, what is the “wow” factor?

Steve says the wow is that now all kids now know how to operate a tablet and are pushing developers to make better stuff. For David it’s the ability to take video with you anywhere. Apps like FlipBoard are so interactive it’s just fun. He also mentions the second screen phenomenon and how that’s changing so much. For Saya it’s augmented reality that is really a wow.

Crap, missed a little… back now.

Great new phrase from Sucharita – continuous partial attention.


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