Tablet use is growing, but are you forcing your viewers to experience your content in the same format on a desktop or notebook as on a tablet?
In an opening day South by Southwest panel discussion, experts in interface design took a look at how to best present content for tablet viewers. The results offer lessons for any companies that want to create a comfortable environment for mobile video.
Interface design expert Dr. Mario Garcia started out the “Lean Forward, Lean Back: Tablet News Experiences” presentation by explaining that we now have two lean-forward platforms (smartphone and computer) and two lean back-platforms (tablet and printed material). With lead-forward platforms, people want quick takes. With lean-back platforms, people will take their time and immerse themselves in long-from content.
When designing for a tablet, such as a dedicated tablet app, taking a multisensory approach is essential. “You must keep that finger happy,” proclaimed Garcia. A finger that only gets to flip pages, he said, is a frustrated finger. Think of a tablet app like a child’s pop-up book: it should have constant multisensory stimulation. Photos and videos do well on tablets, he said.
Next up, Sara Quinn, faculty with the Poynter Institute, took the microphone to reveal the results of eye-tracking studies the institute ran with tablet users in the summer of 2012. Using specially-created prototype pages, Poynter found that most people preferred a carousel design for an app, one that uses several small pictures with text to show the contents available.
Those tested fixated (meaning rested their eyes briefly) 18 times on average before choosing a story to click on. This evaluation happens in just a few seconds. People who made quicker selections often didn’t finish their selection, as if they were eager to go back and see the other selections that they hadn’t considered.
Of those tested, 61 percent touched the screen regularly, looking for interactivity. Some left their fingers on the screen all the time. Whether interactive elements are there are not, tablet users constantly look for it, showing that people enjoy exploring multimedia. For companies presenting material with online video, that’s an opening worth taking advantage of.