Designing for the Device

Here’s an interesting story Chris (@cbales) sent me about why tablets can’t be treated as small desktops.

What Enterprise Software Firms Can Learn From Angry Birds – CIO Central – CIO Network – Forbes

Seems obvious, but when you’re in the development weeds, it’s an easy assumption to make. Save time, get something out to users now, check off to-dos, etc.

Ironically, yesterday’s announcement at Google IO (@googleio) from Peter Vesterbacka that Angry Birds will join the Chrome Web Store brings up the same problem in the opposite direction, namely that Angry Birds doesn’t have the compelling game play when you’re using a mouse or a controller.

It’s obviously a great touch-based game, but if your gaming platform of choice rocks a mouse or a controller, you’ll probably be scratching your head about the hype.

So, it’s smart advice to design for the device, but it’s tough to follow. The next time I hear that said, I’ll be tempted to bring up Angry Birds. We’ll see how that goes.




  1. Yet to be convinced. Angry Birds (now installed in my Chrome browser!) doesn’t require any text entry.

    If I go out at lunch time, there’ll be a bunch of “charity muggers” trying to sign people up for regular donations to XYZ. They still use paper and clipboards, but it’s a reasonable use case for an tablet device. But what they need to record are names, addresses and credit card details.

    Its often not that the applications are bad at exploiting the device, but that the device isn’t built for data entry.

  2. If you’d played AB on a touch-device, you’d be easily convinced. The gameplay is designed for touch, and although it’s fine with a controller or mouse, you can tell the difference.

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