In recent years we’ve seen the size of digital displays increase, whether you’re talking about 32″ iMacs or 50″ widescreen TVs. However, it seems that this trend is now in full reverse with the explosion of micro-screen devices, including the market-dominating iPhone/iPod. 2010 is then set to see the growth of much smaller devices, 9″ net books, iPad and now we see Apple, the leader in this field, rumoured to be producing a smaller screen version of it’s high-end Mac Air shrinking the already small 13″ screen down to less than 12″.
What’s driving this?
Largely the very overdue explosion in mobile Internet linked with the unstoppable growth of cloud applications.
We are starting, thankfully, to see the adoption of far simpler applications and the death of overkill desktop applications from traditional suppliers who spent their huge development budgets on developing more and more complex applications that consumers don’t actually need.
The twin challenges of small screens and mobile Internet is a major challenge for the web in the next few years as developers struggle to adapt to less space and lower bandwidth. It’s kind of strange as we may have to return to some of the thinking that dominated the mid-90s … That of lightweight, fast pages designed to work inside 800 pixel screens. It will certainly be a test of good practice, clear design and brilliant UI. Bring it on.
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