How tablets are changing the web

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If the arrival of Tesco’s new £119 Hudl tablet computer tells us anything, it’s this: tablets are the new standard for mass-market computing.

The big beige household PC of the Nineties is now out of date. The new standard’s not a household anything, but a personal device. A phone, a tablet, or both. Something slim, portable, touchable, and always with you.

What’s changed? There’s more broadband and Wi-Fi than there used to be. We can carry our slim devices around and they stay online. That’s one big difference.

They’re also commoditised. Both the Hudl and Amazon’s latest Kindles are dirt cheap, because they’re not just smart screens; they’re retail outlets in their own right. Shops that customers carry around with them.

There’s a lesson in all this for people who make websites. Too many developers are still building websites for desktop PCs. The PCs might not be big and beige any more, but they’re still around, and they’re still the main tool used by web developers for their work.

It’s simply no longer efficient or effective to build websites for the desktop, and think about a separate mobile version later. Mobile is the new desktop. If your website doesn’t work well on mobile devices from day one, you’re doing it wrong.

Instead, websites need to be “responsive”. The code behind the website is smart enough to detect the screen it’s being viewed on, and adjusts how things are displayed accordingly.

That sounds obvious doesn’t it? Like common sense? But too many websites – even big, well-funded ones – are still not responsive enough.

The web changed computing when it arrived back in the Nineties, connecting our machines like never before. Now it’s happening the other way round: computing is changing the web.

Do use a tablet or other mobile device to access the Internet?

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28th Nov 2014
Thanks for voting!
My husband bought a tablet and to me it is a toy - I am lost without a keyboard so I can type at my usual rapid pace - life is too short to be using a touch screen - I find that Windows 8.1 on the new PC is too slow for my liking. It sits there whirling its wheel until it catches up with what I want it to do and I am thinking of returning to the old computer as it did not waste my time.
No wonder people complain they have no spare time - they are wasting their lives away conforming to what the electronic gadgets can do best.

I started to be interested in PCs back in the days of Windows 3.1 as they became more useful, and I am 63 years old now.
Keith Paterson
2nd Feb 2014
Thanks for voting!
I may be 82 but I have been using computers for over 30 years and I agree, entirely that the tablet is the way things are going, especially for older folk or people who have never previously got anywhere near the Internet. They have a few drawbacks but so much going for them...
The touch screen is an intuitive interface. They are quick to start, they do not suffer the same insecurity of PCs, which puts many people off (quite rightly) they are so versatile, from video and music players, new and book readers, social networking, camera, easy shopping and so much more, in addition to the usual e-mail. So portable and with a once a day battery charge, so you can use them all over the house or even in bed. Something tells me this is something more than a passing fad !

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