The Rise of the Touchscreen – Design Implications

A number of new and notable touch screen items hit our radar recently.  As these sophisticated devices gain in popularity, expect design to move with the times.

“Touch Me” says Windows 8

The first to raise an eyebrow was the new Windows 8 operating system. (Check out the design process in this corporate video).  They have focused the user experience of the entire OS around touch and gestures.

Bold move.

The resulting design has a pleasant mosaic appeal, big buttons, lots of colour coding and a whole heap of animated transitions.  It’s all built with HTML and Javascript to boot, a pretty firm indication of future intention. 

“Me too” says the Beeb

The BBC also introduced a new beta of their homepage. Something our MD, Mark has already commented on.  Again, the user experience feels geared towards touch rather than click. Lots of sliders though no customisable content. 

Mmmm… Colour Kindle…

Amazon also threw their hat in the ring recently with the Kindle Fire.  A new full colour touch screen tablet version of the Kindle to try and grab some of the iPads market. Flying out the doors apparently. Again, lots of simple big and bold graphics. 

What This Means for Design

So does this signal a big shift towards touch screen interfaces? With the mobile web expected to overtake desktop by 2015, do we need to start designing web interfaces with fingers in mind now? If so, what are the implications?

Well, I’d expect to see a lot more interaction, less clutter and more bite sized information for a start.

But I think this will also open the doors to more sophisticated interactive experiences.

Does this mean that story-telling in web design is back? I hope so.

This shift will surely influence interface design quite considerably, which puts the pressure back on designers (and dev teams) to give users a really engaging experience.

Something that we’re relishing and already having some fun with.

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I am the Head of Design at Heehaw. Over the years I have worked with many household names including WH Smith, BBC and Whyte & Mackay. Whether working on brand strategy, print or digital, finding that big idea still gives me a kick today

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