can an IPAD UI function as a desktop UI

6 Jun 2011 - 7:43pm
3 years ago
47 replies
1973 reads
Reza
2010

Hi all, I'm a UI asked by a client to create a UI for Ipad and a Web App with the same functionality and workflows. I've been asked by engineers to keep the UI the same on the ipad and desktop web app. I'm wondering if anyone knows of research on this subject, can an Ipad UI function just as well as a desktop UI? Or is it important to have two UI's one for the ipad, and the other for the desktop app. Also more generally the number of devices accessing apps, clouds, web so in will certainly skyrocket. One simple difference between "current" conventions is the placement of breadcrumbs and tabs on ipad vs keyboard and mouse, bottom of screen on ipad and top of screen on K&M.

Anyone know of examples of one UI being used on both IOS and Key & Mouse ? Your thoughts and comments are greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

r

Comments

7 Jun 2011 - 4:05am
Kevin Fox
2005

The iPhone and MacOS Twitter clients are the first example I can think of where the UI (and much of the codebase) is the same. If your client's product is an 'ancillary task' product (like tweeting, IM, ambient notifiers or tickers, etc.) then an iOS UI may still be suitable. Beyond that, the complexity of the app and the tasks it performs determine whether it's appropriate to keep the architecture and flows the same. The more complicated the app, the more likely that it's best customized for touch UIs and kbd+mouse UIs.


A good example of a simple app that works well with the same basic framework across iPad and MacOS is the iOS App Store and the MacOS App Store. (Not to say that these UIs are exceptional in themselves, just that they're simple enough that the same IA works across platforms.)


In general it's probably best to create a consistant metaphor for tasks and object relationships across platforms, while adapting it as needed to respect the HIG conventions of each platform, just as desktop developers have been doing for decades across Mac and Windows. An iPad app that doesn't feel like a native iPad app or a Mac app that doesn't feel like a native Mac app will probably cause the user more ennui than slight inconsistencies in locations of control bars or breadcrumbs.


-Kevin

8 Jun 2011 - 3:04pm
Reza
2010

Kevin, thanks right, especially seems to be true in OS x Lion

<blockquote>"A good example of a simple app that works well with the same basic framework across iPad and MacOS is the iOS App Store and the MacOS App Store. (Not to say that these UIs are exceptional in themselves, just that they're simple enough that the same IA works across platforms.)"</blockquote>

7 Jun 2011 - 4:11am
fj
2010

You really would end up losing the abilities that multi-touch brings to UI design on touch-screen devices, or you would have to come up with and maintain equivalent single-pointer gestures for everything.

7 Jun 2011 - 9:02am
Dave Malouf
2005

To put this bluntly, I doubt you will find research on this as the topic is a) new and b) outside the realm of research studies that would ever be made public. It is just banal.

I have no idea what your interface is so I could never know the true answer, but the contexts of use are so different from each other just on a pure human factors perspective. Finger v. mouse, held v. stationary, etc. They have intrinsically different flows even if they have the same functionality.

I respect the desire to try to economize code, but this is a fool's errand. You will fail many of your users all the time.

What you can't afford to do is have less functionality in 1 platform over the other. E.g. I can't stand that Twitter for iPhone does more than Twitter for MacOS. I.e. Translate. Finally, they integrated in auto-complete of @'s but that took way too long. AND they still don't have an easy way to shrink URLs IN the text edit field. A requirement for anyone who wants to share stuff. And why they don't have it is beyond me. I won't even get into lack of photo sharing, etc.

The point is that unless your functionality and flows are dead simple, I really doubt you can do a 1:1 between a tablet and desktop OS. Heck I wouldn't even do a 1:1 between OS X and Win 7. Why? b/c they have different metaphors of operation and people live in their OS. Everything needs to work the same. That's why Office for Mac is so different from Office for Win.

-- dave

7 Jun 2011 - 12:05pm
Reza
2010

Dave, your probably right, but if I we use the App Store as a shared UI and say assume it does not fail many users at once, it may be possible that the area of shared UI is just unexplored, and maybe not a complete fools errand. suppose i'm just keeping an open mind about it, also your annoyance at UI varioations between platforms is one that I share. And I wish often that they all worked the same, and though feature wise it could be adressed from a management perspective this seems to be a challenge to many organizations.

"I respect the desire to try to economize code, but this is a fool's errand. You will fail many of your users all the time.

What you can't afford to do is have less functionality in 1 platform over the other. E.g. I can't stand that Twitter for iPhone does more than Twitter for MacOS. I.e. Translate. Finally, they integrated in auto-complete of @'s but that took way too long. AND they still don't have an easy way to shrink URLs IN the text edit field. A requirement for anyone who wants to share stuff. And why they don't have it is beyond me. I won't even get into lack of photo sharing, etc."

7 Jun 2011 - 3:05pm
Robson Santos
2008

Hi, have you guys seen the new features on Mac OS X Lion? It has many iPad interactions translated to the MacBook or iBook environment: http://macosx/.

Robson Santos, D.Sc. Usability Mentor and User Experience Researcher [+55 11] 8291 5235 http://interfaceando.com

7 Jun 2011 - 4:05pm
Moses Wolfenstein
2010

I was thinking about this earlier today as well. Both Apple and Google have hinted at convergences in their computing environments, and Apple actually did more than hint yesterday.
I believe that there may be some trouble ahead in this regard though based around the human factors issues Dave pointed to, but I guess we'll just have to see.
-Moses


-- 
Moses Wolfenstein
Associate Director of Research
Academic ADL Co-Lab
www.moseswolfenstein.com
Twitter: @mosesoperandi

8 Jun 2011 - 2:36pm
Reza
2010

Hi, Robson,

seems to be geting closer in functionality and design to ipad.  and if we consider the ever increasing number of platforms, the fact that laptop Screens will become touchscreens, and even our keyboards may become haptic touchscreens.  the "one" optimized ui might be worth considering more seriously.

Thanks

Reza

19 Jun 2011 - 12:38pm
Don Dunbar
2009

Not necessarily. We seem to be overlooking the large amount of research in the area of touch screens conducted in HCI in the late '90s and early 2000s. We see the touch screen as a new unexplored area but it isn't really. What is new is how the interactions are employed via smaller devices and the way we hold them. In the past research suggested that touch screens were not so practical because users would tire too quickly doing everyday tasks, like writing. But those screens tended to be desktops where the user held their arms up for long periods of time. Those studies, while useful for what they show, missed the way touch screens are deployed on phones and tablets. 

i would suggest looking into that research, even if you don't employ their findings. But, I would suggest, in accord with what Dave says above, that you differentiate between interaction and interface. Dave mentions functionality not available in one format that is essential in another. You can apply the same interaction with a different interface. By interface here, I mean the gateway to the interaction : tap and click are interface gateways to the interaction of  selecting or instigating  an action,  for  example. The context will change with the device being used. People are good at adapting between contexts especially when the screen and device suggest different interface to interaction methods.

8 Jun 2011 - 11:06pm
craigmaxey
2010

Excellent

9 Jun 2011 - 6:05am
monkeyshine
2010

Well, Office for Mac has more parity now to Win Office...and that parity will continue. My team is working on this challenge now and it is a challenge but it's also a great exercise in getting rid of gratuitous elements. I think if every app had first been designed for mobile, we would have better designed apps in general. Design for the best experience. Right now our biggest challenge is redefining what we've done for 'hover'. I'm all for anything that gets rid of hover. :)

The desktop is fading away and there is a growing demand for functional / experiential parity between platforms. Perhaps small companies with small budgets will always be faced with picking their poison and throwing their dev dollars at one platform but the demand will be for broader, seamless implementation.

Deanna

9 Jun 2011 - 11:05am
msweeny
2006

Wowsa what a great discussion. I have not seen a response as emphatic as Dave's since the Vatican declared Galilleo a heretic. Perhaps there is merit in designing this research after all? Maybe we'll find out something equally as powerful as which planet circles the other. :)

As someone who alternates between the 3 platforms, I suffer cognitive dissonance over what does what on which and why. I do not believe that the desktop will fade away as it experiences a metamorphosis into more of a general-public client-server relationship with a variety of other devices. I'm not so sure that we'll ever have one platform and don't believe that is our nirvana. I think that our nirvana is interoperability between platforms. Maybe that is what we should be focused on and designing for?

M

8 Jun 2011 - 3:03pm
Reza
2010

Hi All,

Thanks for feedback, I see wish there was research on this topic, anyone wanna run it and sell it online :-) ?

To answer some questions, its quite complicated running what could be described as business tasks while conducting ethnographic studies of an enviornment.

7 Jun 2011 - 3:05pm
uxtweaker
2009

Not aware of any research but some of the Google Chrome apps are similar on the iPad...
e.g. Amazon Windowshop https://chrome.google.com/webstore/...

7 Jun 2011 - 10:25pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Hi Guys,

Taking a few concepts and having them work here and there is not the same as a 1:1 interface. Also, having looked at a lot of Lion already, the parts that interest me least are the convergence parts. I have no intention of giving up my mouse on my iMac. Yes, the pad is nice and I do like gestures on my MacBook, but there are many things needed and necessary on a desktop that won't work on an iPad and visa versa.

Tread carefully and test often.

-- dave

8 Jun 2011 - 2:37am
Jared M. Spool
2003

 

This is a big topic at the upcoming Web App Masters Tour at the end of this month in Minneapolis.

Luke Wroblewski will go into details on exactly how you tackle many interaction design challenges on mobile platforms, like the iPad.

Josh Clark, author of Tapworthy, will layout the arguments as to which is better for a good application: a native app or a web-based design.

Bill Scott, who is in charge of UIs for Netflix, will talk about the design patterns Netflix follows to deal with their multi-platform issues.

Mike Lee, who is the design evangelist inside AARP, talks about how a 100-year-old publishing institution is moving to the new technologies.

It's really great stuff.

Here are some writeups from previous tour stops:

We'll publish the audio and the slides from these presentations later this summer. Stay tuned.

Jared

Jared M. Spool
User Interface Engineering
510 Turnpike St., Suite 102, North Andover, MA 01845
e: jspool@uie.com p: +1 978 327 5561
http://uie.com  Blog: http://uie.com/brainsparks  Twitter: @jmspool

8 Jun 2011 - 2:44pm
Reza
2010

Hi Jared,

actually Netflix can be a great case study,  they create a UI for every platform.  They have one for web, Ipad, Playstation, Wii, XBOX ... and they all manage to function completely differently - as a user I've found this very annoying.  The point is I'm accessing the same required functionality ... find movie/show watch it, and its different on all the platforms I use to do it.  

Netflix might be a great example for how multiple UI's went wrong, and a cautionary tale supporting the research into creating very similar UI's for all devices.  

Thanks,

Reza

9 Jun 2011 - 9:50am
Dave Malouf
2005

Actually, I couldn't agree more. My students in their usability class studied this exactly with Netflix and it fails their users who have a mix of expectations:

a) they want it to work like whatever platform they are on.

b) they want it to feel familiar when they switch contexts.

A paradox indeed.

-- dave

8 Jun 2011 - 11:06pm
Moses Wolfenstein
2010

the fact that they've decided to replicate the iOS folder system in OS X makes me very very sad.

9 Jun 2011 - 10:24am
Alex ONeal
2008

Here are my two cents' worth:

I'm not sure that the finger vs. mouse interaction is quite the challenge it seems at first glance, since touch interaction has adapted itself to deal with traditional mouse requirements already. Because I prefer a mouse on my MacBook to interact with a site doesn't mean I can't interact happily with that same site, with the same code, CSS, etc., on an iPad.

This leads right into my next comment:

Personally, I think the next big challenge of our field is developing exactly the kind of application and/or site rezay is asking about. A site that adapts itself to the device, rather than having to be customized to a variety of devices; an app that works equally well on multiple interfaces (devices, browsers, etc.) and might even improve or personalize itself in response. Think self-adapting taxonomy, self-optimizing UI, self-improving interaction paths. In short, an antifragile UX that turns the concept of "degrading gracefully" on its head, and thrives on chaos.

Maybe I'm crazy, but this concept has has possessed me ever since I read Nassim Taleb's discussion of antifragility. I'm convinced antifragility should be the goal, and separate, walled-off versions of apps for different devices accepted only when absolutely necessary.

P.S. I saw Dave's insightful comment on the paradoxical expectations of Netflix users; I believe an antifragile UX would actually resolve this :-)

9 Jun 2011 - 2:35pm
Reza
2010

 

So both google and apple are moving into the increasingly similar Ui direction.  Andy pointed out that we can find examples of Google's shift on the Chrome apps site.  Clearly they have vested interests in increasing their market share of "access" Os's.  And beyond google and apple if we consider the increasing shift to clouds , where your device or hand held interface becomes just a point of access ... 

Then the answer to the question "should we unify our UI"  as a professional recommendation becomes, "It depends".  Clearly the answer to to the question may increasingly become that a unified UI makes sense from a budget perspective, if that is an issue.  And from a resources management perspective, supporting many devices is obviously a challenge, example "Netflix".

And this discussion has brought up some good points.  Also it seems that Game UI's work acceptably well on different platforms, though the devices used to access them may be different the game functionalities remain similar.  And I would say that Dave's insight from his classes:

a) they want it to work like whatever platform they are on.

b) they want it to feel familiar when they switch contexts.

suggest that is what users expect from Netflix, a) yes our devices vary b) but we want a similar experience. And this isn't a paradox just a simple statement that "even" if you have to optimize for the functionalities of a platform Keyboard, Mouse, Touch, the experiences need to be similar enough that user are not annoyed.  

given that the device you hold is becoming more of an access point to data, example chrome laptops .... users data will live in a cloud, example dropbox.  Eventually we may not have a choice in what users expect and this could likely become "one UI" eventually.  For now what "a client" chooses to do becomes more of a discussion of resources and leveraging of existing technologies.  A company could choose to marry a technology like a specific camera manufacturer or touch interface (ipad), or it could choose to be device independent, or customize for a bunch of devices .... like netflix.  

whatever direction may be best for a company currently, obviously the "UI" line is blurring in OS X Lion and Chrome Apps ...  but it may be quite usefull to research this area of design a bit more scientifically,  I'll pay 500 for a study :-) ... any takers ?

Thanks,

Reza

 

 

 

9 Jun 2011 - 4:38pm
Alex ONeal
2008

Reza, I'd love to pursue this more deeply. If you'd like to contact me to discuss the subject in more detail, I can be reached via my website (see my profile). I've already been studying this on my own time, so perhaps we help each other out :-)

9 Jun 2011 - 5:05pm
Moses Wolfenstein
2010

Is this really an all or nothing deal? It seems to me that (depending on the tool) it may be desirable to have some aspects of UI be persistent across devices and other aspects change to meet constraints and affordances of use for different devices/in different contexts.
To put this another way, perhaps part of the problem with Netflix is that key elements of the UI that users want to be persistent diverge across different devices.
just thinking out loud, -moses



((
9 Jun 2011 - 6:51pm
Reza
2010

Sure, your right, does not need to be an all or nothing deal ... and yes Netflix issues could be adresses by managing key elements across platforms. Just guessing it "might" be hard to manage by the issues they are having, and wonder how sustainable it is, how much it costs, ect ...  

Reza

 

9 Jun 2011 - 7:05pm
Josh B Williams
2010

I agree that it should not be all or nothing. The desktop can offer better hardware to allow for more advanced features you could not do on an iPad. I think when looking at your tasks, keeping the basic flow the same between systems will help problems similar to netflix. When on the desktop it seems reasonable that more advanced features could be accessed that might have heavy keyboard or mouse use.

10 Jun 2011 - 3:39pm
Rob Tannen
2006

You might find this article relevant to the discussion:

 

How Apple and Microsoft Borrow From Smartphones In New Desktop UIs

 

http://www.fastcodesign.com/1664020/how-apple-and-microsoft-borrow-from-smartphones-in-new-desktop-uis

10 Jun 2011 - 10:53pm
Reza
2010

thanks Rob.

11 Jun 2011 - 2:07am
Moses Wolfenstein
2010

nice! I'll be mulling that over tomorrow.

On Fri, Jun 10, 2011 at 11:38 PM, rezay <ryazdi@icgcreatice.com> wrote:

thanks Rob.

11 Jun 2011 - 7:03am
Dave Malouf
2005

I agree w/ the first commenter. i think the main part of all this is "influence" vs. parity.
Window's approach is parity. Win8 is almost an exact replica of WP7 while Apple (I've used dev versions of Lion) is more "influence" and I would agree is more considered.

Of course, there are things that we can learn when we work in 1 platform that we can apply to another, but applying them driven by marketing instead of user contexts is like I said above, folly. Having used Lion I can say that the "icon desktop" is something I avoided at all cost. I think it is a failure. I love my desktop. I COULD see that for maybe the MB Air product line this making sense, but even then removing the desktop and trying to remove the file system will not go over well.

Back to Rezey's main question ... Should an iPAD UI function as a desktop UI? the answer is yes, and no and it depends. What are the types of activities you are trying to support and in what contexts are those activities being used in either platform. What are the physical human factors as part of that context? What are the postures and flows that can differentiate.

it sounds like his management are just trying to save time coding and designing and THAT more than anything I'm against. You have to consider them separately and together the same way that 2 trees in a forest both support each other and end up being unique due to specific contexts like access to light and water. You can't ignore the forest, but you also can't ignore the trees. Our job as holistic designers is to move seamlessly between the particular and the general.

-- dave

11 Jun 2011 - 5:06pm
Reza
2010

,

11 Jun 2011 - 7:28pm
Reza
2010

agree with dave overall on answer to main question ,  IPAD UI vs desktop ...  Yes, maybe, and not yet, are probably the list of multi-selection answers.  Was hoping someone on the list would chime in and give a more precise explanation when the thread started :-) 

This is an interesting point that dave made, 

"Win8 is almost an exact replica of WP7 while Apple (I've used dev versions of Lion) is more "influence" and I would agree is more considered." 

 The question is why is that the case?  If we assume this is done out of considered strategy on the part of both organizations.  and the reason could possibly be the strategy of innovation and its influence on the bottom line for both systems.  companies often innovate aka use current research to respond to current user requirements for a perceived leap in market share.  often this is done by companies needing the traction.  while organizations comfortable with their control in an area often bleed out what they know to better in order to maximize their profits in that area.  soooo yes apples approach "could" be more considered, but it could also be considered all the way down to the bottom line of profit maximization.  And windows may be taking a larger leap because they are uncomfortable with their loss in market share ... Just saying UI is not always the driving consideration behind decisions of large organization ... 

On this other point,

"it sounds like his management are just trying to save time coding and designing and THAT more than anything I'm against. " 

That would be "completely" incorrect, So blame me the designer, which would be more correct .

And its more that i'm interested in the questions.  Think we all agree on thoughtful approaches, and part of that thoughtfulness is considering these concepts.

Organizations using collective information usually side on the measured approach, like yourself, unless they perceive a jump in market share as a result of a leap, like Microsoft now, and apple when they released the touch UI originally.  It is "interesting" to consider the subject of more streamlined UI's.  The entire system becomes a more elegant design, if we think of the ethnographic flow of an organization and how it would save so much money ... and we should consider the intelligent questions we hear from colleagues and peers.  The original question that brought up the string was quite a valid one on many levels.  I would say the number of great responses on the string would also support that viewpoint.

"You have to consider them separately and together the same way that 2 trees in a forest both support each other and end up being unique due to specific contexts like access to light and water. You can't ignore the forest, but you also can't ignore the trees. Our job as holistic designers is to move seamlessly between the particular and the general."

Hard to argue against nature analogies, so agree,  I believe a thoughtful approach works best.  There's very little "available" data on what we are discussing.  Though obviously Microsoft, Apple, and Google have thought about this stuff.  Hoping someone at those organizations will ping in with their two cents, but lacking that, we can easily deduce that research has supported an interaction shift that we should think about.  

 

12 Jun 2011 - 7:20am
Dave Malouf
2005

Reza, your opening into this thread said this:

I've been asked by engineers to keep the UI the same on the ipad and desktop web app. 

This is why i assumed this was more than exploratory.

As for the "measured" approach, I have never been accused of being measured in my approach. I seldom look for research as a guide post b/c so much research out there is contextual and hard to apply broadly (though people will try). E.g. Using the big 3 as you are trying to do as a guide for the future is in my mind not useful. The development of platforms has a very different requirement than an application. E.g. look at iWork instead of iOS. Yes, there is similar functionality, but definitely incomplete when comparing iOS to MacOS in any of the 3. But even if you looked exactly at the functionality that is similar you will see that while there is functional parity and while it can be argued that the metaphor of the 'inspector' is maintained, how you use it and how that fits into the total flow is very different between the 2 platforms. It feels both similar and different at the same time and as a single point reference, it was not a no brainer to jump into Pages for iOS after being familiar w/ Pages for MacOS for quite some time.

Again, I suggest you need to take a reflexive and symbiotic approach. You COULD take Luke Wroblewski's approach of starting w/ the mobile design first, but I don't think it makes sense to think of an iPad as "mobile" the same way we think of a smartphone. I have seen this being done and the hybrid contextual nature of a tablet formfactor make it difficult to assume a single contextual type or posture. iPad's allow for a lot more focused attention than a smartphone, e.g. But not as much as a desktop.

-- dave

13 Jun 2011 - 12:13am
Reza
2010

hi dave, thanks, yes your probably right ... just trying to keep an open mind as information is presented; thats interesting I will take a look at Luke's work it might add some insight.

thanks

reza

13 Jun 2011 - 4:05pm
monkeyshine
2010

Even though Microsoft is certainly doing some leaping in terms of WP7 and Win8, this issue of integration isn't really a new problem for them. They have long tried to make Office available on their phones...this is a problem that Apple hasn't had to deal with in the same depth. With WP7 and Win8 they are attempting to create a seamless experience from desktop to any touch device. The only way to do this is a perfect marriage of UI and code...it has nothing to do with saving time (that's a good one, though). And as someone who is involved in designing a UI that works across platforms, I can assure you that there's nothing time saving about it - for designers or for developers...but it is the right thing to do.

Deanna

13 Jun 2011 - 5:58pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Hi Deanne,

The thread in my opinion is about 1:1 UI design. If I use a dropdown menu in the desktop I have to use the same menu in the iPad app. For that I say, Hell No! If you want to talk about seamless experiences across multiple channels I say, Hell Yes! Seemless does not mean IxD parity and I would argue does not necessarily mean UX or functionality parity. It means to me that I feel like I belong there.

-- dave

13 Jun 2011 - 7:05pm
monkeyshine
2010

But isn't that the direction we're moving in? It's not feasible to create a dual desktop/touch experience for a big software suite...from a business perspective as well as a user one. I don't want to buy two versions of Office, do you? So, we have to get smarter about how we design. An example I used earlier was hover states. They don't work in touch devices but oh do we love them in desktop and web apps...we stuff everything that didn't fit elsewhere in the hover.

To me, it's really about asking the questions up front. I have to weigh how my design decisions on a desktop app will affect someone using it on a touch device...phone apps have had the luxury (and some heartache) of living in a parallel universe where the UI is very specific to the device. That is rapidly changing, especially as touch computers become more dynamic and powerful.

14 Jun 2011 - 12:05am
Dave Malouf
2005

Actually, I don't want to buy 1 office. I want to buy all of them. But your basic premise is similar to how I feel about media. Buy the DVD & u have the rights to all media regardless of device, but I don't want them all to run the same file? I like the idea that iPhone/iPad apps can be the same item I buy on the app store, but I don't like when they have the same functionality/UI design. What is better is when there are subtle yet important differences that allow the interfaces to take advantage of the qualities of the other.

Things like the form factor, context of use(s), processing (CPU and GPU) speeds, bandwidth expectations, etc. all require different sets of expectations and functionality.

So yes, I want to buy a single license, and I want that license to allow me to use it on all of my devices, but I do not want the license to give me the same exact software just compiled to the appropriate chip & platform. I want the software to balance conforming with its special traits with the trains of its context (the OS and form factor).

I was talking with Alan Cooper (@MrAlanCooper) at #ixd11. He challenged a group to explain to him why Adobe insists on making its interfaces the same regardless of platform. It totally broke his frame of reference in terms of the platform he was working on each time. His diatribe is shorten to say, please design your software to the platform and context of use. I totally agree!

14 Jun 2011 - 9:05am
monkeyshine
2010

Wait, I'm confused...Alan Cooper was arguing that Adobe should have a different interface for each platform? I hope not because that sounds like hooey(!) to me. :) As someone who jumps between Mac and PC often, I can't stand the mind shift...copy/paste is a simple example that throws me. I want parity between platforms.

I just mentioned this discussion to an engineer on my team and he said "these must be people who don't build software". So, that makes me ask...how many of you design UI for software/desktop apps vs. web?

This is an interesting discussion. While I agree that different platforms have their own unique strengths...and it's important to design to those, I also think there's a lot of rethinking that can be done to simplify interfaces so that they work no matter where you are or what you're using.

Deanna

14 Jun 2011 - 10:06am
Dave Malouf
2005

How many people jump platforms? Devices yes, but platforms? This is Alan's point. (but this is off topic) I actually said what you said, but this is really an expert's problem and one I don't really face any more nor do the vast majority of people. In the end from an end user perspective their device/platform environment should dictate a lot more of the interface than the software. So few software is multi-channel and even that that is would be better off utilizing the unique properties of the platforms they are design for. I can't speak to the developer perspective, and to be honest, I really don't care. I only care about outcomes towards the use eco-system's perspective and then I scale backwards and then degrade (yup, it's always a step backwards) towards the realities of feasibility, time, and budget.

So from what I have seen is that attempts to rationalize an app across channels almost always fail in the end unless it is a reflexive process. I'm not really a fan of "mobile first" either. I don't believe in "simplification" just b/c it's mobile. You get a lot of crap that just start out "minimized" under the guise of "simplification".. I believe in focus, clarity, and fit. Our lives are far from simple. We need to meet that reality, not pander to it.

-- dave

14 Jun 2011 - 12:25pm
Josh B Williams
2010

I think most people are upset when a piece of software does not match the operating system they are on. That is why slight changes to optimize an application for an OS or device like an iPad is needed. I think a great case study of a success in this would be the new AutoCAD for Mac.

Mac users are not familiar with the PC interface, or prefer the Mac OS. When talking to the potential users of a Mac version of AutoCAD, people were asking for the same tools with a Mac feel. This is a traditionally PC application, and they could have simply ported it to Mac. Instead they rewrote AutoCAD to be a Max OS [1] native application. This means users who are familiar with how a Mac works will not be confused by conventions from a PC.

I think the same is true for designing for an application on Mac vs PC vs Tablet. We need to keep in mind the conventions for the platform we are designing for.  We also should look the context of where people are using the device, and the system power, when considering what features and functionality are needed.  Maybe I only want a light version on my iPad so it runs faster?

 

[1] http://www.autodesk.com/us/autocadformac/slideshow_reasons/en/index.html

14 Jun 2011 - 2:26pm
Reza
2010

Lots of people jump platforms, specific platform versions do make sense if people dont ... but people already do and platform jumping will only increase with new technology.  I jump 5 platforms ... daily ... and platform specific UI's are becoming very annoying as a result.

14 Jun 2011 - 8:06am "How many people jump platforms? "

back to the original question, the product im designing not only expets platfor jumping but requires it.


14 Jun 2011 - 5:48pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Reza, when's the last time your grandmother -- heck your mother, jumped platforms using the same application besides facebook and email?

anyone? now to your issue ... you say your app requires platform jumping, but I sense you mean device jumping, right? So I get it. You are required to use the application on both a PC device and an iPad ... got it. But I still stand that there is balance. You can't only use iPad GUI elements in your pc app. i.e. if you have file management issues, you'll need to use the file manager open dialog. Or print dialog, or similar devices. It is called a platform for a reason. Ignoring that reality is just plumb silly. 

NOW! let me be clear. Of course there WILL be places where you want to rationalize your 2 applications. But you can't assume the same codebase, nor can you assume, the same IxD or IA throughout. The different posture contexts should not be ignored at all. In this case it is even more important to be contextually aware than the Mac/Win case Deanne and I were discussing in this thread.

-- dave

15 Jun 2011 - 1:10am
Reza
2010

 

Makes sense dave ... my relatives aside ... im sorta thinking about the future.  Here in sf its pretty common to have all this technology dripping off you, just looks like lotsa devices are coming onto the market that are going to get access to apps , web ect ... 

i am not disagreeing with anything your saying, in fact the approach your describing is what we are ending up doing.  a unified UI would be super cool :-) , one that plans for multiple devices, kinda like grid960 design plans for web multi-device compatibility.  or grid system did for graphic design before that.

Some web apps work the same on all platforms/devices ? is what we are discussing that much different ?  also what's the difference between designing standard elements that work on multiple platforms and standardizing UI elements like drop-downs or buttons ?  after all dropdowns and buttons are examples of UI elements that "do" work the same way on various platforms and devices ?

speaking of my family ... my brother four platforms/devices ... my sister uses three, my mother uses three as well ... the point is it seems to be happening around here anyway.  my roommate who is relatively "not tech savvy" has four platforms/devices he accesses the same applications on ... my father in his late 60's and resides in "turkey" has five devices he uses.  i mean i don't have any real data, its all personal examples ... and its coming up at work as well. real data on it might be interesting, and it "might" be a trend?

 

best

reza

 

 

13 Jun 2011 - 2:35pm
Reza
2010

here is some info on Netflix UI ... from Luke Wroblewski's site:

http://www.lukew.com/ff/entry.asp?1339

14 Jun 2011 - 2:12pm
Reza
2010

with all respect to this data ... the only thing I hear about the Netflix UI's are complaints ... of course that's just the feedback i hear .

15 Jun 2011 - 8:38am
Dziechciaronek
2010

Hello,

very interesting discussion. I would like to add some of mine thoughts to it, cause I'm also working on the app that should be usable and cross functional on web for PC and on web for tablet. For me the first main problem was - how to change the web design to be 100% usable and functional on the tablet and in the same time not insert typical tablet GUI elements.

I was aware of some restrictions - e.g. there is no possibility to use the hover effect or every button should have appropriate width and height to be easy to tap. So to make the tablet user comfortable and not destroy the web app experience by adding typical tablet GUI elements there were some things to consider:


  • how to avoid hover effect and keep the design clean
  • how to design clicking elements - no links, every element to click should have recognizable border and graphic background to tap the finger
  • how to design flow of the app - provide vital info on the one screen, decrease number of reloading pages
  • pick up tablet metaphors and GUI element which are very usable on the tablet and which could be easy implement also on the web (e.g. on/off slider in mindmeister app)
  • decrease input fields and don't lose the complex functionality of the app
  • decrease number of actions user must "save"
  • be caution revealing more action button after tapping

 

Resuming the problem is how to create the compromised solutions both for the web app and tablet app which will be both for the tablet and web users fully usable and functional. Even if consist of elements which are typical to one platform but easy to use on other.


I'm not sure if I describe my issue (sorry for my English too)

MD

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