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Tablets: Another Consideration in Web Development

Let’s face it; many people are still not enamored with tablet PCs. Thousands may already own an iPad or any tablet but there are still plenty of individuals who choose the bulkier but more feature-rich notebooks or even netbooks. The tides of change cannot be stemmed though and tablets will become a major platform in personal computing in the near future.

As consumers, we can see that as an improvement over what we have today. But for webmasters and web developers, it poses yet another challenge. With sales of tablet PCs rising, the time is right to start investing on tablet-friendly website versions. Yes. Versions because you do not have to totally redesign your website to accommodate internet surfers using tablets. Like with smartphone users, you can specify a version of your site to be served to those using tablet.

When developing the tablet version of your website, here are some tips to keep in mind:

1. Keep file sizes to a minimum. In the future, all tablet PCs would be equipped with Wi-Fi functionality. Today though, plenty of tablet PCs still connect to the web using 3G networks. This means pages would not load as fast as when the PC is using Wi-Fi connection. As a result, you have to ensure that your website’s tablet PC version is light and would load easily. Most internet browsers are impatient and if you cannot deliver the info they need on time, they would easily hit the back button and try another website.

2. No Flash. Android-powered tablet PCs support Flash. Apple’s iPad does not. We can argue all we want that Android-powered tablets are better than the iOS-powered iPad, but it will not change the fact that sales figures are on the side of the iPad. That said, you have to find Flash alternative to use on your site if you need multimedia content on your site’s version for tablet PCs. Furthermore, contents using the multimedia platform from Adobe cannot be read by search engine bots thus lowering your chance to get higher ranking on search engine result pages.

3. Resolution and the accelerometer. Most tablet PCs are equipped with accelerometers so there is no definite resolution to target when designing for tablets. There’s another thing to consider with accelerometers. You have to design your site in such a way that no matter how it is being rendered, the area above the fold is well optimized. Above the fold means the area that the visitor can see without having to scroll down. Make sure that you make good use of this area in any resolution or display layout.

Remember that tablets are still relatively young and in the near future, they would come with better and newer features. Make sure that you are on top of these changes and adapt your site’s design to accommodate future changes.

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