iPadification of the web
When I wrote about mobile apps lately and the influence they have on our mobile internet experience I already mentioned webapps as a side note. A very recent post by Mashable’s own Christina Warren and her earlier article about the „iPadification of the web” brought me back on the topic.
With developments starting to pick up this is becoming more and more interesting. Currently most of them are found within the Google Chrome universe. Main reasons for that would be speed, HTML5 interpretation and interface design I guess. Chrome’s great speed benchmark is important to keep loading times low for a seamless experience. People just don’t like when applications stutter around. The clean and simple interface of Chrome plays an important role in recreating the app typical stand alone aspect. From a pure usability perspective it doesn’t really make a lot of sense but people came to like it this way. I talk about the “why” in a moment. To get an impression of what I mean you should open the New York Times website version in Chrome.
I think it’s quite amazing and yes, it does make reading newspapers on a computer monitor a lot more enjoyable. To prove the speed point just open the same link above in Firefox and you’ll notice the difference. It’s more evident than I expected myself. As web apps mostly rely on HTML5 performance also relies a lot on how a browser handles the improved markup language. Wanna’ try opening the link in IE6? Good luck …
But why is all of this so extremely cool? Well, partly because it really does improve content consumption and navigation. As Christina Warren wrote, many web apps copycat interface and navigation from the iPad and its apps. People may say whatever they like, if you ever had the iPad in your hands and started playing around with its touch navigation you’ll understand that Apple has one hell of a market lead in interface design. It’s just natural that people and companies borrow from the best.
Here we get to another point. The “I-can-do-this-too” effect. Wouldn’t you like it when someone came along with an Ipad, shows you his super nice NYT reading experience and you can just smile evilly, open your browser and cut him off with an impressive 24” version of what he is bragging about? I would, for sure …
But there’s another reason, which has less to do with our envious selves. This is also about workflow and productivity. When we use something as stand alone application or in full screen mode it’s easier to focus on what you’re doing with it. In times of increasing distraction by alerts here and updates there this is quite welcome.
I really like the idea of the web app and I forecast that they will spread wide and fast. Yet, I still find myself only toying with Chrome and working with Firefox, because I’m simply too lazy to get used to a different interface at the moment.
Stephan de Paly