3 approaches to better design: each has its uses, but the costs, benefits, and risks differ dramatically.
Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox for March 26: A/B Testing, Usability Engineering, Radical Innovation: What Pays Best?
Usability Week 2012 conference
Full conference program describing all full-day training courses.
Deadline to save $200 on advance registration for San Francisco:
* This Friday, March 30
iPad 3 Changing Use Patterns
The new iPad 3's crisper screen will lead to increased tablet use, particularly when reading content.
iPad 3 is the first broad-market computer with a good display, meaning that it's currently the only computer that makes it reasonably pleasant to read text. In other words, people with both a desktop computer and an iPad 3 will tend to prefer reading from the tablet, even though the desktop is otherwise more powerful. (Users will stick with their desktop computer for tasks that involve more intense interaction.)
Also, as we know from all previous research, when the usability of something goes up, users do it more. More pleasant reading = more reading. I stand by the analysis in my previous newsletter that the user interface design guidelines remain the same as those discovered when testing the iPad 1 and 2.
However, the expectation to see more use of tablets, now that they are more pleasant to use, does have implications for design strategy: a broader set of companies should now invest in designing tablet versions of their websites or mobile apps.
See also the 2-day training course on visual design for mobile and tablet — it goes without saying that these new designs need to take advantage of the higher-resolution screen with more subtle visual effects and better typography.
Longer-term, I hope we'll finally get better monitors for desktop computers. It's a disgrace that 2560x1600 pixels has been the largest broad-market monitor for about a decade now. This is slightly more pixels than the iPad 3, but when spread across a 30-inch monitor the crispness (and thus font legibility) is much worse. We need 40-inch displays with 300 dpi pixel density for desktop computers to regain their competitiveness. Luckily Windows 8 does have baked-in support for high-density screens.
I don't know why, but the audience at last week's Edinburgh Usability Week were particularly tweety. Many of the Tweets are still online if you want to get a feel for what transpired.