When developing web sites, we should all be thinking “touch friendly”.
Now that I have a Surface RT tablet, I realize how bad so many websites are for touch devices like a tablet. Lucky for me my Surface has a keyboard with a track pad built into the cover. Because on numerous occasions I find myself stuck on a website and I need to switch to “keyboard” mode and use the track pad/pointer to be able to use some drop down menu type of input. Obviously this didn’t matter for many years an there are a lot of old sites living across the internet. Over the years, I was just I was just as guilty of this bad programming technique as the next developer, we just didn’t need to worry about touch. But those days are over and I’m ready to make a change.
By the way, I’m not going to get into a rant about how bad most websites are to use on smaller mobile devices like phones! This is a similar issue but there is a difference.
As more and more people are using tablets as their primary device for the web, we developers need to get with the program and ensure that we give our guests a first class experience.
Here are a few simple tips to follow:
- Don’t rely on hovering. Touch users don’t have a mouse pointer so they’ll be stuck.
- Make targets large. If you expect a user to click something, think about the size of the average user’s finger.
- Keep pages simple. It’s much easier for touch users to use your site if you keep things simple and uncluttered.
So fellow developers, please join with me in this New Year’s resolution by taking this pledge:
I, state your name, promise to start making websites and applications that don’t suck for touch devices. I promise to care about my users and build sites and applications that they can use easily.
Happy New Year! Good luck with this and all your other resolutions.