Today, mobile software development is mainly focused on smaller screens, especially with the number of portable devices growing every day. Mobile developers and UI/UX designers work hard to provide an impeccable experience for mobile device users. Responsive design tricks pursue the aim to make the interface on a small screen look and feel awesome.
What about bigger screens? Is the experience here as seamless as with small devices? Obviously not. There are many things that need to be taken into consideration when building software for larger touchscreens. Some applications and websites obviously need a complete redesign to satisfy user wishes and uphold market positions. Software and website redesign pricing differs depending on the complexity of the task but, of course, the prices are also notable. In this article, we will provide useful tips about designing for larger screens.
What is Different About Large Screens?
These days, users are faced with large touchscreens in various situations. Starting with mall kiosks, smart TVs and continuing with rare sources like riding in a Tesla vehicle, the software must be easy-to-use and convenient.
At first glance, there is nothing difficult when it comes to optimizing software for larger screens, but just think for a moment about the differences in mobile and desktop software development. The difference between small and large touch screens is considerable, as well. Before diving into the depth of optimizing for Large-Scale Displays, let us understand their peculiarities.
On-screen keyboards are convenient if you are holding a device in your hand and type with your fingers. When the size of the device is much bigger than your hand, things can get more difficult. Additional efforts are required: finger movements are replaced with arm movements.
Let us elaborate on the previous point. The keyboard is not an integral part of the window that reflects the input. Both elements of the screen cannot be recognized simultaneously and the user needs to switch visual attention from one window to another.
On a big screen, more information is visible at a given time. In some cases, it is quite convenient, though there is no doubt that large screens limit privacy and may display information that a user does not want other people to see in an open environment.
Swipes, drags and drops on bigger screens require more attention and wider arm movements, as well. So instead of moving a finger few inches, a person needs to swipe through an entire screen which may be up to ten times bigger.
To reach a part of a screen where a needed button is located, a person may accidentally touch another clickable element of the window and launch an undesired operation. This is the reason why UX Design for Big Screens needs to account for possible accidental touches, the difference between hand movements and actual finger touches, etc., and all of these should be processed for an app to react properly.
Each of these points is rather important to consider when you start app designing for large touchscreens. To successfully fulfill this task, let us proceed to our top ten list of tips for doing just that.
Top Ten Design Tips for Large Touchscreens
The large desktop experience in responsive screen design requires special approaches and a deep understanding. We have prepared this list of top ten tips for you to complete this mission successfully. To create smooth a UI/UX design:
1. Build a Prototype
Working with mobile devices, you have an opportunity to get the sense of the app immediately and it is completely different in large touchscreen cases. The first step on your road to great UI/UX design is building a prototype. With a prototype, you will get the full picture of the built interface, and you can measure how scalable it would be and how it will look before the app is launched.
2. Implement the Gestures Concept
Swiping is one of the most popular features, as it repeats a gesture that is natural for a human. Oversized screens require more efforts, as mentioned above. Take into account the fact that the device may be fixed on a surface like a table or a wall. Think about some options to make users avoid repeated up and down arm movements. Besides this, think about visual effects and eye movement. Let your design engage and be observable within two eye moves – from up to down, or from left to right.
3. Scale Up the Content
The elements of the app and its content should suit large touch screens well. We would like to recommend that you keep an eye on the following:
- add an engaging phrase or image to draw users’ attention and make them come closer;
- make elements noticeable and easy to interact with;
- pay special attention to clickable elements: the user should know what action to take to reach the desired result;
- create simple and understandable navigation;
- provide a seamless experience.
4. Ensure the Accessibility of the Navigation
Large touch screens have one more significant requirement. It is necessary to put a navigation pattern on every page of the app. The users appreciate the opportunity to access different blocks, even after certain content page is accessed.
5. Minimize the Typing Efforts
As mentioned above, due to the specifics of large screens, it is not so easy to fill various forms or type information in. Try to rid your future users of any unnecessary efforts. Build your design in a way that predicts possible requirements and cater to them. No doubt, in some exceptional cases, the app has to be featured with a keyboard, so provide users with the opportunity to show or hide it.
6. Simplify the Choice
Screens may be large, but this does not mean that you should stuff them with as many elements, images, or options as possible. Limit the number of choices to simplify the process of decisions and perception of information. It is recommended you add two possible options on a screen, so one decision is taken at a time and, as always, draw as much attention as possible to the interactive elements. Use funny thematic images or animations.
7. Take Care of Privacy
Whether you design an app for public use or home TV, you should take note of user privacy. Large screens have a considerable disadvantage, briefly mentioned above. Because of their size, they may accidentally demonstrate personal information to people in the direct physical vicinity of the user. To avoid any undesirable situations, add small pop-ups to enter or display sensitive data.
8. Do Not Forget About the Offline Experience
Some large screen devices work only when there is a strong internet connection. Others use an offline database and do not depend on the quality of the connection. Pay attention to both options and provide users with needed services, with or without the Internet connection. Make your design work in both cases.
9. Use Custom Engaging Elements
Some users need time to get used to the app and screen size before they start an interaction. Simplify this task for them and add some clear engagement points, understandable content, and catchy animations to your application design. Add explanations and short tips to answer user questions and guide them through the process. Make your design custom: let key elements reflect the idea of your business. Put the logo on the screen and recall positive associations.
10. Remember: There Are No Strict Standards
Ticket machines, information kiosks, large screen laptops, and TVs – all these examples are different in their own regard, each of them having their own goals and functions. What is crucial is that each platform, device, and app uses their own approach to hit the target. There are no special design standards or a one-fits-all solution. The point is to look at the screen with the eyes of the user and design UI/UX that is good-looking, simple to navigate, and seamless.
Designing for large touchscreen devices requires a great deal of developer attention. With significant growth in the mobile industry, most heads are turned to the optimization of design for smaller mobile displays, but it does not mean that design for large screens does not matter.