Four iPad Application Design Reflections from Disneyland

As memories go, anytime my wife and I have taken our kids down to Disneyland, it is always a special time.  I always reflect back on these family vacations with great joy.  However, this past week I was thinking of one of our trips to Disneyland for a very different reason.  They had setup an exhibit showcasing the Home of the Future.  In addition to being impressed by the latest in home automation and green technology for the home, I came away fascinated with a coffee table in the living room of this house.  Now this was no ordinary coffee table.  This was a coffee table that captivated me because the table top was one large touch screen LCD panel.  In addition to serving as a console for the various automation controls for the house, the panel was showing the family pictures, served as a remote control for the TV, the thermostat and on and on.  As expected, the panel would switch to “screen saver” like graphics to make for a wonderful and relaxing experience.  As I look back at the user experience, I recall many laptop based sensibilities looking for the typical navigation that I was used to,  including menus, Esc keys, CTR-ALT-DEL alternatives, and attached I/O devices.

iPad Application Design Reflections

This week as I was reflecting on the state of app design for the iPad, I could not help but think that many of the apps today are still stuck in old paradigms.  In some ways we are “porting” what existed on the laptop.  This is especially true for the apps that are trickling in for business use.  While Apple has provided some good guidelines in the iOS Human Interface Guidelines, many of the implementations that I am seeing have failed to immerse the business user into the rich and engaging experience that the iPad can offer.

Here are 4 application design reflections that came to me after my recent trip to Disneyland:

  1. We are only seeing the initial interpretations of UX (User Experience) for the iPad and we have a long way to go
  2. Enterprise and business app builders, in their attempt to make the iPad look like a serious productivity tool and not a toy for the executives, have thrown out some very key aspects that make the iPad such a joy to use even in a business setting
  3. Once we starting thinking of use cases for the business that are made possible by the iPad but were not possible with other platforms we will get away from the constraints mentioned above
  4. The enterprise will fully embrace this new platform once these new uses become prevalent


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