The definition of the word tablet has completely changed in just the past few years. Rather than the notepad I used to scribble grocery lists on, it now has taken a turn to the digital.
Tablet computers have reached critical mass. Some have gone as far as to declare a “Tablet Revolution.” The International Data Corporation predicts that by 2015 more U.S. web users will access the internet through mobile devices than by using personal computers. That’s big news for those of us on the internet. Is your site optimized for tablet viewing?
With the introduction of tablets comes a new way of browsing. These mouse-less, keyboard-less devices render many features of a normal website obsolete. Now, you must cater to the finger. It is important to create a touch screen-friendly layout to appeal to the growing poulation of tableteers, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to create a whole new website. Here are a few tips to make your website more tablet-compliant:
As most tablet screens hover somewhere around the 8 to 10 inch range (with exception of Toshiba’s Excite 13 – whoa), there is certainly a considerable size difference between PCs and tablets. Tablets not only shrink everything on-screen, but they also limit what viewers can see when first signing on to a website. Website designers need to scale back designs in order to properly fit tablet screens without making users squint. This involves larger font, simpler style, and more information displayed at the top of the website to assure less scrolling and more convenience. It’s all about first impressions, so you want your tablet users to view your website at its maximum potential.
No more mouse means bigger buttons. Tablet users must use their fingers to click on links, so you must take this into account. Make important links easier to access by enlarging them. Also, make sure that links are spread far enough apart that someone’s finger won’t accidentally hit the wrong button. You don’t want your website to look ridiculous on a normal-sized screen either, so you have to find the right size to cater to both audiences.
Less is more
Forms, particularly for business sites, are one of the most important parts of a website. You want your leads to have easy access through tablets, so design your landing pages to be as simple as possible. Many tablet users are keen on convenience, so you don’t want to drive away traffic by having too many fields (especially when they will most likely be keyboard-less).
From an aesthetic perspective, you don’t want to use flash. Technologies that require additional software or browser plug-ins usually don’t mesh well with tablets– the iPad iOS doesn’t even support flash and iPads make up a large chunk of the tablet world.
Tablets can usually be oriented in either a portrait or landscape position. This calls for further design consulting. Make sure your information and visuals won’t be distorted in either position. Ensure that the most important information is still visible in both directions, and make sure no errors occur when switching directions.
On the run.
Tablets are mobile devices. This means that potential customers may want to use tablets to access your website on-the-go. Brainstorm ideas for mobile-related content that users may want to access such as links to directions, quick contact information, or business hours. This could help visitors find information more easily. Keep them happy!
Test it out.
Don’t skip this step! Have your peers test out your website on different brands of tablets to see if all your website’s features work properly. How does the design display on the screen? What about navigation? Make sure you can see all important information on the first page, or at least proper links to clearly labeled tabs. If you and your employees don’t own tablets, you can simulate the experience online. Be cautious though, nothing compares to the real, hands-on experience.
Keep in mind: change isn’t always a bad thing. This movement to a cleaner, more simple design could help you keep better track of your site. Do away with unnecessary content and make clearer the most important aspects of your website. This is basically a perfect excuse to revamp and improve your business’s online presence, so what are you waiting for?