Do You Need To Design Your Website For Tablets?

Tablet PCs are all the rage today. Replacing laptops as the most popular medium for mobile computing, tablets can be found in the hands of millions of people across the world. The most popular tablet, of course, is the iPad, but that in no way is the only tablet PC out there. With the popularity of this type of device, it does beg an important question. Should you take steps to specifically design your website for the tablet-using audience?

The short and most obvious answer is yes. The sad fact of the matter is that tablets display web content differently than that bulky desktop PC you’re probably using to create your website. In a way, it puts the average home entrepreneur at a disadvantage, because it’s all they can do to even grasp website construction the normal and accepted way. Adding tablets and other mobile devices into the mix is like throwing a monkey wrench in the program.

However, this is something that needs to be done. In another ten years, home computer systems are going to become like car phones (excluding gamers, software engineers, etc). Most people are going to have mobile devices instead of sedentary devices. This means you must design a version of your site for tablets, and you must keep in mind that Apple currently controls 90% of the market with its iPad line. Here are three rules for tablet design:

1. Always check browser compatibility

Different browsers are going to display content differently. It’s hard to find a medium that’s perfect for everything. So really the best way to go about it is to make small and necessary changes as you advance the building process. For instance, check your site’s appearance on all popular browsers (IE, Firefox, Safari, etc) after the template for each page is created. You can find a happy medium here and build something that’s attractive and fully functional on almost every browser. It’s also implied today that some users might have to switch their browsers rather than you having to switch your construction.

2. Flash content is bad

Flash content is a great idea if you’re only marketing to a home audience using a PC or even a home Mac. But when specifically speaking of Apple’s Tablet-using audience, they cannot even see Flash content when it’s loaded. It’s just wasted space. It’s annoying for a Tablet users, as you might imagine. So just get rid of the Flash content when designing for a Tablet.

3. Optimize your layout

Imagine surfing from a Tablet when designing for one. In fact, it’s ideal if you actually use a Tablet to test. What you will see here is that the size and structure of the Tablet’s monitor presents some minor challenges. Think of designing the layout of your page more like Facebook’s new Timeline design. That’s optimized perfectly for Tablets. You can borrow a trick or two from them very easily.

Now, no one is suggesting that Tablets are going to take over the world completely. But you better believe that mobile computing will! Something may come along to replace the Tablet, and Smartphones may even end up overhauled, but it’s the idea of mobile computing that’s here to stay. To that end, you need to start adjusting for the time period and you need to build your site with the Tablet audience in mind.

Since graduating from Leeds University in 1997, Eddie Yu has been involved in various Entrepreneurial activities throughout his career, and eventually having built up a part time business between 2001-2003, he went full time in 2004 with Lady Luck Media. Before then, he has worked for British Aerospace, FNX and Derivatech, where he consulted for top tier banks such as Bank of America, ABM Amro and Bank of China. Eddie firmly believes that with social entrepreneurship and technological advancements we can create a world without offices and impact climate change for the betterment of our planet.

  • Great post Eddie! Tablets are all about convenience,
    something businesses can’t ignore in their website design. So its important you
    incorporate useful features such as one-touch add to-cart buttons (if you’re an
    ecommerce store) and address auto-fill. Entering data on any mobile device is a
    fiddly business, so any software that can
    expedite this process will not only improve your user’s experience but the
    quality of the data you obtain too.