I remember sitting at my desk tuned into a virtual conference, listening to Josh Clark give a talk about creating tapworthy mobile experiences. My co-worker sitting beside me was also listening in, and after his talk he turned to me and said “that guy’s a genius.” I have to agree.
Josh has thought longer and harder than anyone about all that goes into designing touch-friendly experiences. That’s why I was absolutely honored when he reached out to me to write the foreword for his new A Book Apart book, Designing For Touch. The book encapsulates all the smart things I’ve had the pleasure of hearing Josh preach on about over the last few years. I could go on about what a great book it is, but instead I’ll just share what I came up with for the foreword:
And just like that, the floodgates opened, releasing a seemingly endless torrent of different-sized glass rectangles on an unsuspecting public. We, the designers of the world, had no choice but to flail our arms in an effort to keep our heads above the waterline of this new sea of devices.
But swim we did, as we slowly but surely began to make sense of this new mobile medium. Native designers sank their teeth in and explored the unique capabilities of these devices, creating experiences that pushed the medium into even more amazing territory. And on the web front, we witnessed the rise of responsive design, which allowed designers to reflow layouts so they looked and functioned beautifully on any device, irrespective of screen size. Nowadays, squishy sites abound on the world wide web, and designers have an arsenal of tools to ensure their layouts work on phones, tablets, and everything in between. Mission accomplished, right?
If only it were that simple. You see, reflowing layout is one piece of this giant multi-device design puzzle. We also interact with our newly squishy interfaces with these clumsy sausages we call fingers. This forces our hand (har har) as designers to ensure our user interfaces aren’t just viewable on different-sized screens, but are also finger friendly.
Ergonomics, posture, context, and the tactile nature of touch all have real ramifications on how our tap-happy users experience our designs. A design may look fine on a mobile handset, but how does it feel? Accounting for touch is of utmost importance as more of the screens in our lives have touch capabilities, but where can you go to learn how to properly execute thoughtful, touch-friendly designs?
You’re in luck, because Josh is here to touch on these subjects in a big way.
Josh Clark is a treasure trove of touch design insights, and has the uncanny ability to discuss high-level principles and in-the-weeds details alike with clarity and candor. In this book, Josh will help you understand key principles for designing for touch, along with constraints and opportunities for both native platforms and the web.
There will be rules of thumb, but also pragmatic advice on when to break those rules. Josh doesn’t just bestow years of hard-earned, practical touch design knowledge on you; he delivers it with wit and an enthusiasm for the subject that’s downright contagious. I have no doubt by the time you’re done with this book, your brain will be bursting with ideas on how to tap, pinch, swipe, and scroll your way to design nirvana. Enjoy!
If you’re making things for all these different-sized glass rectangles, do yourself a favor and go pick up Josh’s book.