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Developing for Tablets

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As indicated by the preceding table, tablets have a screen resolution that more closely approximates a desktop experience. Some devices, such as the iPad, have a keyboard dock available. When developing for tablets, consider the following:

  • In all likelihood you will need to redesign your application to take full advantage of the increased screen resolution. For instance, with the new form factor, you can probably reduce the number of screens required for data-drill down. You may be able to combine two or more screens into a single view. This should also enable you to reduce full-screen transitions.
  • Redesigning an application for a tablet should not alter its core feature set. Control structures, such as toolbars, should remain largely unchanged.
  • With the added screen area, you have more flexibility in implementing your branding strategy and "beautifying" your application. For instance, you can use photo-realistic art work to mimic real-world objects. Remember to stay focused on your content presentation, however, as the best navigation remains unobtrusive.
  • You should avoid radical changes to your page layout when there's a shift in orientation. With more screen space available, you should be able to provide a consistent UI regardless of whether you are in portrait or landscape mode.
  • The added screen real estate also enables you to innovate by designing applications for two people using the device at the same time (i.e., an interactive chess match).
  • Pad-based applications should minimize modality – allow users to interact with your application in non-linear ways.
  • The larger screen opens up more possibilities for using gestures.
  • Move all toolbars to the top of the screen.

Note: The Apple iPad Human Interface Guidelines are published at the following url:

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