Device independency

About 2 min reading time

**One thing hit me the other day. **I’ve written about sync between devices before, and now I thought about the actual physical move between them. It has sneaked up on me recently: how we use multiple devices more frequently these days. What’s interesting is how the software inside adapts to it.

What I mean is how you are able to use Messages on a Mac on your desk, then suddenly decide to move over to Messages the iPad in the couch. Got to run? Bring your iPhone along. What’s cool is the fact that you’re able to continue the conversation from wherever you left off, on any of these devices.

Most social media services that have apps for the three big markets (desktop, tablet, mobile) are doing the same thing. It’s not over after closing Facebook or Twitter on your computer – carry on what you were doing from your phone instead 1. Services like iCloud and Dropbox make it incredibly easy to switch between devices. Apple’s iBooks is available only for the iPhone and iPad, but still manage to create a “begin where you left off” feeling, thanks to the syncing of bookmarks. The Music app, along with iTunes on the desktop, is cool since I’m able to continue listening on a podcast on my iPad right where I left off. Instapaper is a prime example as well.

You could call it device independency, since the content doesn’t depend on a certain device in order to function or show properly. I find it really cool to see apps and web sites just magically adapt to a different device and still let me access the content. The otherwise hard lines between devices are starting to blur out when it comes to content.

When building stuff, in my case websites, I think it’s important to have this in mind when doing responsive design. How people move between devices, and what users want to do with the website on each device. This is getting important since we've got more and more devices (and screen sizes!) to build for.

When true device independency is achieved, it’s really a tremendous joy to use a product. Let me float smoothly and seamlessly between devices while using your product, and I'll be happy.

  1. However, many timeline based services as Twitter still have to fix the “begin where I left off” issue – to sync the last read item when switching devices. Tweetmarker has solved this for tweets.