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Mobile vs. Tablet vs. Desktop Design

Updated: Feb 26, 2019

"Overthink what is priority, and start designing from there". So, that's probably the worst advice I can give right here and now, or maybe it's exactly the advice we need when we first face the task of designing for multiple applications. In other words, whichever interface you choose to design for first, remember the content structure and priority will determine the workflow for your hierarchy. To get even more specific, there are even greater things to consider for your design that truly define an experience for a user. The function and flow can make or break a site. When you think about a desktop-site you can think of it as a "buffet, offering a little of everything", said Amara, (UCD Instructor). On the other hand you have to consider a greater population who seems to be rapidly growing, using desktop apps in place of the browser. This is happening because the use of mobile is in the highest demand. The browser could be useful for something that can be handled quickly, but a greater downfall is requiring an internet connection. Aside from a desktop app being able to complete tasks while offline, the apps offer multi-tasking opportunity for interaction and a more-direct way of completing desired tasks. A desktop site would also require opening more browser windows to complete tasks, which tends to lend itself a little more excessive than necessary. With the apps, you can complete multiple tasks at the same time.

Adobe Photoshop Desktop App

When we take a good look at the Photoshop desktop app we can see the interface is complete with a full tool and menu bar, along with all the essential work-space panels Photoshop is so very well known for. The other big feature here is the large art-board area for viewing and editing the project at hand. The large desktop design gives artists the art-board they need for viewing their work in a better visual format. This is one of the greatest benefits. Again, like a buffet, the tools and panels are easily accessible and visible to the user.


Photoshop Express mobile app

In comparison, here with Photoshop Express mobile app, you can see how tasks are simplified and made easy by cutting out everything except the priority level content. In this case, features are condensed, combined, and even sometimes simply left out to insure a successful and pleasant user experience. The priority is set with editing a photo, then the effects and controls follow that. Apps are great places to include preset features which give the user a fast solution for altering image color and effects.


Simplicity and structure. Content becomes more manageable when it's organized in a simple design and functional layout. Clearly most users scroll and click on their mobile phones. We respond well to an image and we know how we associate images to specific content. This system and layout is very clean and modern.

Photoshop Express Tablet

The tablet seems to be much better to work on when it comes to editing photos, than a mobile phone. As a professional artist or photographer the screen size is going to make things a million times more accurate when designing, and the ability to navigate from tool to menu impacts the user greatly. As you can see with mobile and even tablet, mobile is limited to pull-out or hidden menus and navigation. The same goes with tablet, however there is more room so in some cases tools can be fixed. With desktop design, navigation is fixed, tool bars can also be fixed. The larger the screen, the more opportunity to to add and make accessible.

This is the new iPhone design for mobile. You can imagine this would get a little busy if it was on a smaller screen. The pull-out menus are loaded with topics and categories, menus and more. This would be best fit for a phablet or larger. This design is also altered for tablet. I really think as an editor it's imperative to have more access to tools and visibility using the tablet or desktop for Photoshop applications. When you condense things down to make things function simply and successfully for mobile, you lose a lot of function and ability to be creatively independent. With the dumb-down features, the user has less function, and smaller libraries of preset effects and alterations. This takes the originality out of the program. Clearly not everyone is interested in the full power of the Photoshop desktop program, therefore these smaller designs are quite successful for a simpler group of people on the go, keeping up with new trends. I can see the user being "with the times".

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