Sunday, August 15, 2010

So How Does the iPad Fit In?

I found an interesting lecture on how the iPad is going to fit into the world.  I stumbled on it while looking for information on program and designing for the iPhone.  I am playing with my iPod Touch and was trying to figure out how to design for it when I found it.

Then follow the links to iPhone Application and Development (CS193P)- Winter 2010: Friday Session.
and look for the talk about iPad Development.  I think this is number 27 in the series.

The talk is officially titled "Designing for the iPad", February 12, 2010.  The lecturer is Evan Doll.

(I am not sure there is a link that is permanent to this talk.  This is a Stanford iTunes U presentation and the videos in this series are part of their support of that effort.  I bet they get revised and updated as material changes.  So hurry!  I hope that is enough attribution for their creative commons license.  This is a good talk that deserves attribution and thanks for sharing.)

Evan Doll pointed out some interesting (to me) things in this talk about the iPad:

This is not just a big iPhone!  If you scale-up an iPod design for the iPad things will not look as good as it could, and you may not be making the best use of the interface.  A small pop-up window on the iPod screen takes up too much real-estate and makes it hard to read.  A small pop-up window on the iPad is a different story and that could be used to make an app flow.

This is a device that un-complicates the relationship between a person and his information.  You point at what you want.  This isn't the story with traditional mouse/keyboard set-ups.  When you consider how moving a mouse to move a cursor that is two feet away, it gets easier to understand how unnatural this set-up really is.  Touch the icon to do what you want.  If you work with the younger youngsters isn't this what you would want?  This would be waaay easier to explain to a kindergartner for example.

This interface is ideal for sharing!  Laptops? Someone has to use the keyboard/mouse/trackpad to make it go.  The screen is positioned for the driver.  Same with desktops.  The iPod/iPhone screen size is too small to really share.  Both traditional computers and small hand held devices do draw you into an interaction with the device that really keeps you from interacting with the people around you.  The iPad is sized so you can share with a group and you can all get your fingers on it.  No one person has to drive.

I am imagining the first time I see a teacher and a student discussing what is on the iPad during a seat work session.  This will be interesting.

Yes, this is under-powered for a computer.  It is not a computer.  It is not a device that you can put in your pocket.  It is not a phone.  Is this a good fit for young kids.  I think so.  Probably all the rest of us that aren't in the I'm-Creating-and-Need-a-Computer mode.  It will be interesting to see and probably this fall!

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