From what I've read about CES it seems like a big upcoming trend in hardware is touch enabled laptops. And of course Microsoft's Surface device is sort of a touch enabled laptop.

This is a whole new world for UX minded people coming at us fast, and it has the potential to fragment with multiple incompatible conventions emerging.

Microsoft provides guidelines specifically for Windows 8, but what about a web sites/apps intended to be for a wide range of devices? We can essentially ignore the new capabilities offered by hybrid (touch + keyboard) devices but that would likely decrease one's relevance, just as ignoring touch-only would. With touch + keyboard (and + trackpad?) it behoves us to use each input channel for what it's best at and not simply follow the previously established conventions that assume either touch-only or keyboard-without-touch.

Does anyone know of resources to look to for guidance in this area?

2 Answers 2


The best resources and guidelines tend to come from experience in working with something, and seeing how its usage evolves over time. Since we're only seeing reports of potential touch-enabled laptops at CES, we're too early to get that kind of resource.

It's also important to note that CES has a long history of vaporware. There are plenty of things that get shown at CES that never see the light of day.

At this point, I think it's simply too early to see such guidelines. If you're truly passionate about this, then I'd suggest picking up one or two of these devices, creating and conducting studies, and publishing your results. UIST could be one of many avenues for publishing such research.

  • I wouldn't say I'm passionate about this specific issue, what I really want is to be able to design websites that will be friendly on this new class of device. Or at least get a sense of what direction to go in order to keep things open to whatever conventions emerge.
    – obelia
    Commented Jan 14, 2013 at 19:50
  • It's a great question. Should these devices take off, then we as a user experience community can start to understand the devices, their usage, and how both the device and their usage differ from current devices/usages. With that understanding, we can then build upon it by determining what works best for a user audience that could be using anything from a wristwatch-sized screen to a television-sized screen.
    – nadyne
    Commented Jan 14, 2013 at 23:02

I would hesitate to be excited about touch laptops. Couple of them are already on the market without much of success. They don't really change the game of design. They are partially ordinary laptops and partially clumsy tablets.

As always we should deal with two types of "restrictions":

  • Platform oriented guidelines - e.g. windows guidelines will still apply, as software will remain the same;

  • Ergonomics guidelines - which should take into account each specific hardware. Weight and size of a device will matter a lot.

Would any of these deviced get enough market share to justify specific ergonomics evaluation? I doubt it.

  • I wouldn't want to follow Windows 8 guidelines for a website because that could be very unconventional to people who don't use Windows 8. We've just started to find this happy medium of web design that works on traditional and touch computers and now these hybrid devices appear. We'll see about their market penetration - they already have penetrated the stores where I live.
    – obelia
    Commented Jan 14, 2013 at 0:59

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.