Touching My Content – New Habits, Old Screens

Aug. 24, 2010

pinching an image on an iPad

Photo by arabcrunch on Flickr, CC 2.0

I am enjoying my new iPad tremendously.  I’ve gotten the hang of sliding my fingers to scroll, as well as pinching and unpinching to zoom in and out.

Yet twice yesterday I turned to my lovely computer flatscreen on my desktop computer with the absentminded control action of sliding my hand or tapping.  A few seconds each time would pass before I realized that I’ve already tried adapting that behavior to my oh-so-last year tried and true computer.

I chuckled.  Part of my amusement was my slow recognition of the gaffe itself as I stared blankly at the screen.

My mental glitches also reminded me of the days of my first digital video recorder, now many years ago.  I caught myself at movie theaters trying to grab the DVR remote to rewind to see a scene again.  I caught myself doing that five times before my brain caught up and adjusted my user interface context expectations again.

I’m also amused at the sight of my teenagers tinkering with my iPad’s user interface, though with different assumptions.  They expect the iPad to ride along in their lap like their cellphone does while they are on the laptop at the same time.  They love the slick shifts between elements, but have voiced frustration that it can’t multitask on the same screen like their traditional computers.  Having to focus on one screen at a time for them is their cognitive break.

Pardon me while I tap on the screen again to publish this post…

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