Embracing Technology. In the early 1980s, I became intentional about embracing computing technology and using it in every area of life. At first it was disorienting and uncomfortable to shift my daily activities to a new unfamiliar platform. The ongoing task of putting information in and getting it out took a while to get used to. I’m now going through a similar shift as I move toward increasingly using small, portable, solid-state, touch-screen devices for more of my work.
From Mouse to Touch Pad. After years of using a mouse for computer navigation it is disorienting for most people to switch to a touchpad. Not only does the interface feel different but the neural pathways in the brain that make mouse activity so familiar and efficient need to be re-created for a new interface like the touchpad. A physiological change the brain and body is needed. New muscles are engaged and old ones are no longer needed. The shift to an entirely different hardware platform with a completely new operating system and user interface is even more challenging.
Slimming Down. I recently decided to start riding my bicycle again to work, and walking more whenever possible. Given my reliance and dependence upon using my notebook computer, I’ve always carried it along with all the acoutrements. For many years, I would put my heavy backpack and accessories in a trailer behind my bicycle. I’m now storing my bicycle in a smaller space that doesn’t easily accomodate the trailer. Also, I’m wanting to carry a lighter load so walking will be easier.
Mobile Devices. Some tasks are intuitive and more easily performed using mobile devices. Text chatting and posting photos to Instagram are examples of tasks where mobile devices are more practical. With iMovie for the iPhone and Garageband for the iPhone, basic video editing and music production are now more easily done on a mobile device.
Large Screens. Some tasks are still more easily performed on a large screen, such as writing content when multiple documents are being referenced. The ability to simultaneously see multiple items on the screen at one time from different programs is unique to the desktop-world since mobile devices typically don’t support multitasking in that sense due to screen size limitations and processor limitations. With mobile devices, the visual aspect of multi-tasking must take place in the creator’s mind since content isn’t in front of you.
Visual Editing. I’ve written many pages of content and articles for the web using notebook or desktop computers. A larger display has always been a preference of mine. I usually keep a window open on the right for reference materials. The convenience of WSWG Visual editing (What you See is What you Get) is essential for creating content to see the formatting in real-time. When designing websites, it’s handy to have a window open showing the results of design changes.
Website Editing on Mobile Devices. I’ve been using WordPress for a while to manage websites. Editing sites using a tablet device has been limiting. The WordPress mobile editor app requires editing in HTML. While I’m quite comfortable with HTML, it’s much easier to use a visual editor when working with images and tables. So, I’ve continued using my notebook computer for creating and editing website content. Recently I discovered an app for the iPad and iPad Mini called BlogPad Pro. It’s a full featured website editor with visual editing and additional features that aren’t even found in the standard WordPress visual editor such as a table generator. Below is a screenshot of the post/page editing screen (click to enlarge). This app is making is possible to do advanced mobile post and page editing from the iPad Mini. This entire article was written and posted using BlogPad Pro – including the image below. The software works much better than the app provided by WordPress for editing.
The Impact of Apps and Websites. Mobile devices are only as effective and useful as the apps allow them to be. Increasingly websites are being designed so that they are easily usable and navigate using a mobile device such as a tablet.