It’s Time to Touch Your Intranet or Internet Site

I’ve been doing a lot of work on Mobile Intranets lately and have been impressed with all of the emphasis on mobile and devices in SharePoint 2013. One thing that seems to be missing focus is touch. With mobile devices from iPhone, iPad, Windows phone and Android, they are all touch devices. When was the last time you did a touch test on your intranet or Internet site? Your site doesn’t have to be on SharePoint 2013 for this to matter. People are using touch devices more and more.

Responsive and adaptive design strategies are the rage these days, but with all of this, it’s amazing to me how much many forget to test not just the resolutions but the interface responsiveness to touch. Common development still includes OnMouseOver and Hoover Javascript tags. In all of this and in my experience, I’m impressed with how Chrome seems to just handle it, but IE 10 still tries to stay true to those tags and often does not give you that menu that is expecting you to hover over it. Often what happens is it simply won’t drop down. The menu is completely inaccessible. The page may be responsive, but your menu just plain won’t even work with a touch as a click.

I’ll give you a good example. Go out to portofseattle.org.  It’s a beautiful site. I was on it at the free wifi at the airport recently. As a result I found the site “Adaptive” with mobile view, and on Safari, the menu continues to work, but for some reason the menu doesn’t respond well in Windows 8 mode. I’m not faulting them, I just think it’s a good sample for you to look at the great work they’ve done and to see it’s easy to miss.

In reality I was hit pretty hard when I found our Intranet site didn’t work well with touch either. We spend a lot of time and testing and research on our Intranet taxonomies and trying to get the menus right, but we didn’t try touch, and just now we’re incorporate responsive design techniques into our site. Cross browser testing as I suggested is still very relevant in touch testing. Be sure you don’t just do a pass on Chrome where it seems to be very accommodating. Try IE and Firefox and Safari as well, as far as that goes why not start to incorporate iPad touch testing into your test passes. We are all going to need to start doing a lot broader testing, I’m suggesting a touch pass something like this…

Touch Test Pass

  • iPad
  • iPhone
  • Android phone
  • Android tablet like Kindle HD
  • Windows Phone 7.5 and 8
  • Surface Windows 8, IE 10 in both modes

Look at the devices and browsers in your usage metrics and don’t stop at browsers only. You need to ferret out the mac usage, mobile and tablet usage but start digging into devices that you haven’t been considering.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Tom Resing says:

    Great point, Joel. It’s amazing how times have changed so quickly. Many intranets have a lot of catching up to do and most don’t have the benefit of your experienced review!

    Like

    1. joleson@yahoo.com says:

      Thanks! I hope MS doesnt loose focus on Intranets, but I also think there’s now room for competition in the social intranet space.

      Like

  2. Scott says:

    I had noticed the same thing the other day on my android. Ntbg.org has a menu where you need to click to get a dropdown, but on Android it causes a page refresh. It was difficult to navigate because of this. Many normal sites designed 2+ years ago need revisited.

    Like

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