Will Touchscreen Kill the Mouse Star?

Will Touchscreen Kill the Mouse Star?

Please pardon the lame joke. But this is an issue that every web designer and entrepreneur needs to consider. Sales of touchscreen enabled devices are booming. Much like the desktop revolution of the early 80’s, we are upon another revolution.

How should this affect our products? The predominate concern is that many web apps today use CSS hover capabilities i.e. you move your mouse over something on a webpage and some action happens. It could be a tooltip, menu, color change, or additional functionality shown.

Trent Walton wrote a great article on the hover issue. Trent writes:

As designers, we’ve turned to hover states to accommodate extra content and allow visual aesthetics to trump usability. Like it or not, those days are over and the interactions we design are going to have to stand on their own two feet.

He’s right. I love a clean minimalistic design. A design that doesn’t show much, but just enough to get the job done. It’s very easy to add functionality without compromising the original design by incorporating the use of the hover. That’s the problem. It’s almost as if we must design for touchscreen devices first. But, maybe the best solution is just to focus your design on showing everything from the get go.

Trent writes:

Prioritize your content, and if you’ve been hiding things behind hover states, make room to display them. The WordPress admin posts screen is a great example of this. Normally, action items are only visible on hover, but if you login with a touch device the links are always displayed.

Focusing on showing all of your content seems like an ideal solution if you want to develop your MVP fast. However, I don’t think it’s the “best” solution. I think the best solution is that we’ll have to develop two interfaces. However, starting with a touch enabled interface is the best way to get up going quickly.

I believe that the “mouse star” is here to stay. One thing is for sure, we can’t ignore this issue. What do you think?

You can follow me on Twitter: @jprichardson

-JP Richardson

If you made it this far, you should follow me on Twitter.  


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