Thoughts on website/app functionality and user expectations – Part 2: Interface

Posted on September 21, 2013

 

With the recent release of iOS7 for the iPhone, we have seen Apple move to the current trend of flat/clean interface. This is a great example of applications following the web when it comes to design and user experience, and it may signify that the web and apps are slowly coming together.

Methods of interaction

Users on desktop machines will interact with websites in a different way to tablet or smartphone users, and this is something that would need to be catered for when you plan to integrate your website into your app, and this can be achieved through detecting the user-agent or screen size of the visitor.

HTML5 provides numerous useful functions, such as drag and drop, that can replicate app functionality for the tablet and phone user without a great deal of work for the web developer.

The ability to swipe is one of the biggest advantages of tablets and smartphones, as it allows the user to perform a gesture to navigate the pages and content rather than click each navigation element. With progressive enhancement, the website could cater for all users and their preferred and familiar methods of interaction.

Appearance

Flat designs with large areas of white space and clear, defined areas of content have become an established trend in web design in recent years. With iOS7 adopting this style, users will now be more familiar with the kind of visual interface and will bring these expectations to the web, so it is even more important that websites adopt a similar appearance in their interface when the site is visited by tablet and smartphone users. The aim must be to move away from the idea of the app and the website being two separate entities and aiming to have a seamless interaction between user and site, without the apparent need for a third party app to act as a middle man between the user and the service.

Phones and tablets no longer need to be treated as special cases when it comes to dealing with them as visitors to a site; they only require some adaptation to meet the user’s expectations and their preferred method of interaction. All of this is achievable with the current and upcoming technologies and libraries.

Steven

Steven is Engage Web’s go-to man for all things web-related, bringing his knowledge of current trends in web design and development to the team.

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