Home How the iPad is Changing Interaction Design

How the iPad is Changing Interaction Design

Applications that looked amazing on larger multi-touch experiences like Microsoft Surface may have a more affordable consumer-facing counterpart. While the iPad has been widely criticized, many startups are thrilled by its possibilities. In mid-November we featured Paris-based Pearltrees as a new design interface for remapping Web information. We spoke to CEO Patrice Lamothe to hear his thoughts on the release of the iPad.

Pearltrees is a new way of organizing information where users create mindmap-style visualizations of their favorite websites and Web-based media. Each “pearl” or media node can have multiple branches, and depending on how you want to arrange your pearls, you can drag and drop them to any branch point to suit your needs. Rather than scrolling through a linear hierarchy of bookmarks, users can delve into different branches of a pearltree. Naturally, this type of data visualization lends itself to the touch capabilities of the iPad.

Says Lamothe, “The idea of physically touching and moving items on a screen is in the DNA of Pearltrees. We won’t need to change much to the interaction design to make it suitable for the iPad.”

Nevertheless, while Lamothe sees the potential in the tablet’s touch interface, the fact that the device does not currently support Flash is a problem for the CEO. While many argue that Apple’s omission of Flash support is in favor of HTML 5, there’s no denying that lack of Flash would hinder the consumer experience. The plethora of pre-existing Flash apps and sites are inaccessible save for Adobe’s workarounds.

Says Lamothe, “I believe tablets can open up an entirely new field, something I would call ‘casual browsing’. It’s a really simple way to get information, browse the Web, enjoy content, play games and communicate with friends. It’s something you will do at home, in cafes, during your holidays – basically when you have a bit of leisure time. To be the perfect casual browser, the IPad would need a more open architecture, Flash, a camera and a few other features…In any case, it’s an exciting new way to enjoy the Web.”

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