Soaring Trend in Touchscreen Computers Calls for New Approach Towards Web Design

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New touchscreen technology could affect the future of web design, and now is the time to start considering how it may change

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The increasing presence of touchscreen computers within the industry will undoubtedly affect the way that all companies create websites, and it's a topic that all Web Designers should begin monitoring closely.

2010 saw the introduction of a new and revolutionary electronic device; the iPad, and since its release, the focus for both consumers and businesses has been on firmly set on touchscreen technology. With its popularity increasing through smartphones, tablet devices, and now even desktop computers, it's time that web designers begin giving serious consideration to what effect the future of these devices will have upon the web. Web design company Creare have taken the lead in this thought-provoking topic, and urge other companies to begin thinking about the implications of touchscreen upon the industry.

Earlier this month, HP announced the arrival of their new touchscreen desktop computer. This is among the first of what is sure to be an influx of touchscreen PC's to come, and presents a whole new experience for people looking to surf the web, but how exactly will this affect web design?

This is a question which is very much on the mind of Creare Director, Mike McKinlay:

"It's always been a focus of ours to keep a close eye on the latest trends and developments in web design. The increasing presence of touchscreen computers within the industry will undoubtedly affect the way that all companies create websites, and it's a topic that all Web Designers should begin monitoring closely, so that functional and attractive websites can continue to be created."

Given the imminent increase in the presence of touchscreen technology within the home and workplace, web designers need to keep three core factors to mind; usability, flexibility and appeal.

Usability

When designing a new website, one of the most important aspects to consider is the usability and accessibility of the site. At present, they are designed to allow a nimble mouse to dart around the screen, but this will have to change for touchscreen computers.

Buttons will have to be larger and more widely spaced to allow for a finger instead of a cursor. Leaving any links or buttons at their current size may prove problematic on touchscreen devices, as they may not leave room to be pressed without the risk of other links or buttons accidentally being touched, presenting a frustrating issue to the user.

Flexibility

Websites are largely designed to be viewed as landscape. However, this has all been shaken up with the introduction of devices such as the iPad, which allows the user to tilt the device into a portrait mode. For a website to keep looking as it should, it needs to possess the flexibility to remain user-friendly at all angles.

This alternative view is something which we may begin to see more of, as demonstrated by the new HP TouchSmart PC, which is able to recline up to 60 degrees, which may spark are new generation of computers which can flip, slide and rotate.

Appeal

With the function and usability issues in mind, it's important to make sure that the websites still look attractive in addition to being easy to navigate using touch alone. Features such as hover effects will have to be altered, as there will no longer be a cursor to trigger this, as well as other aspects such as videos and drop down boxes which may commonly use the hover feature to appear. To be functional alone is not enough, and websites still need to be designed in a way which draws the viewer in, enticing them to navigate throughout the site.

Given the need for larger buttons, does this mean that we'll begin seeing a trend in more minimalist web design? Either way, one thing is clear; websites will need to be adapted to retain their usability, without compromising on aesthetics.

As a business moving positively into the future, Creare are committed to implementing the best SEO, web design, and internet marketing techniques. To find out more about the services which Creare can offer, contact a member of the team by visiting crearedesign.co.uk.

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