Touch on Desktop

John Gruber:

But why put the touch/tablet UI on all PCs? A touch-optimized UI makes no more sense for a non-touch desktop than a desktop UI makes for a tablet.

Most of the things required for a great touch user interface are also good ideas on the desktop. Large touch targets, fast, responsive1 user interfaces, a simple, intuitive information architecture, uncluttered screens that don’t offer too many different features, easily understood screenflows, lightweight applications, simplified window management — all of these things work on the desktop just as well as on a tablet.

In fact, for the average user, the current tablet operating systems would probably make for better desktop operating systems than the current desktop operating systems.

You can’t port a desktop UI to a phone. Going in the opposite direction, on the other hand, might just work.


  1. It’s really too bad that the term «responsive» has come to mean «adaptive to different devices». Now I can’t think of a good term for «reacts immediately to user input». back

If you require a short url to link to this article, please use http://ignco.de/495

designed for use cover

But wait, there's more!

Want to read more like this? Buy my book's second edition! Designed for Use: Create Usable Interfaces for Applications and the Web is now available DRM-free directly from The Pragmatic Programmers. Or you can get it on Amazon, where it's also available in Chinese and Japanese.