If designers thought they had it bad having to deal with multiple browsers, the past several years have made it clear: IE6 is a walk in the park.
Today, thanks to the rise of smart phones and tablets, designers are tasked with designing across a wide range of devices, many with different form factors, platform capabilities and hardware profiles.
The future is mobile, so not surprisingly, when it comes to building sites designed for mobile and tablet devices, many companies think of their web experience and mobile/tablet experience as separate entities.
That can be painful and costly, but a result of this could be that companies gain insights that allow them to improve the experiences they create for their users and customers.
Investing millions to launch an iPad-only publication may prove to be one of the best ways of making a small fortune from a large fortune, but for traditional publishers that have been hawking their wares on the iPad, Kindle and NOOK, tablets are starting to have an impact.
That's according to two executives from Condé Nast and Hearst who took part in a panel at the American Magazine Conference.
Both indicated that their companies are close to achieving $10m in revenue from tablets.
Amazon's Kindle e-reader may be one of the most popular e-readers, but the company's long-term position in the market is far from certain.
On one flank, the Kindle competes with the most popular tablet device, the iPad, and on the other, competitors like Barnes & Noble have built more sophisticated devices like the NOOK Color.
So Amazon is rumored to be responding later this week with a new version of the Kindle that's more like the iPad and NOOK Color.
Dubbed the Kindle Fire, it will reportedly feature a 7" backlit display, books (of course), plenty of magazine subscriptions, and apps to boot.
On mobile devices, the battle between native and web apps is still going strong. Native is clearly winning if you look at the numbers, but that doesn't mean that many aren't betting big on the web.
Not surprisingly, the battle between native apps and the web has extended to the tablet market, even though tablets are far more capable web browsing devices than their mobile phone counterparts.
Whether you're male or female, there's an almost equal chance that you own a smartphone. But what about tablets and e-readers? Do men and women share different preferences when it comes to the latest and greatest mobile devices?
Nielsen's latest survey of mobile device owners, the answer is
increasingly 'yes.' In Q2 2011, it found that 61% of e-readers were
owned by women, up from 46% in the third quarter of 2010. Tablets?
Almost the opposite: 57% of them are owned by men.
As publishers and new media companies try to tap into the potential offered by the iPad, many have decided that offering richer, multimedia-laden experiences is the way to go.
Take Push Pop Press, for instance. Its vision for tablet publications: turn them into interactive applications. Its centerpiece, Al Gore's Our Choice interactive e-book, was heralded as "one of the most...impressive apps you've ever seen."
When Apple announced the iPad, many executives in the publishing industry voiced high hopes for the tablet device. "This could be the technology that helps us capitalize on digital," they effectively said in one way or another.
Of course, today we know that the iPad isn't a panacea for traditional publishers. That, of course, doesn't mean that tablet devices aren't important to them, or that they should abandon all hope.
But how much hope is too much hope?
Since Apple unveiled the iPad to the world, tablet devices have
attracted an immense spotlight. To some, they represent the future of
computing, publishing, advertising and, well, life as we know it.
But is the smoke from the tablet market obscuring even bigger fires
elsewhere? According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center's
Internet & American Life Project, e-reader ownership is growing
much, much faster than tablet ownership.
When it comes to tablets, traditional publishers have a dilemma: the numbers make it clear that the money is currently in native apps, but for publishers struggling to survive, giving up 30% of revenue to Apple, along with valuable subscriber data, is a tough pill to swallow.
So many publishers are trying to have their cake and eat it too. How? By building web apps that look and feel like native apps.
Despite the hype, tablets are still most accurately described as a 'niche' market. But that market is expected to grow really, really fast.
That's according to a study (PDF) conducted by the Online Publishers Association (OPA) and Frank N. Magid Associates, which sees 54m Americans owning or using tablets by early 2012, up from 28m today.