Would Safari 4’s Tab Interface Be Good for Touch Screens?

Charles Ying looks at Safari 4’s new interface for tabs and speculates that it’s designed for future multi-touch displays from Apple.

I disagree. Tappable targets on a touch screen need to be bigger and/or further apart, because finger tips are large, whereas mouse pointers are very precise. The tip of the arrow mouse pointer is precisely one pixel. Apple’s iPhone UI guidelines suggest that a typical finger tip covers about 40 pixels on the iPhone’s 163 pixel-per-inch display. So I would say Safari 4’s tabs would be worse than Safari 3’s for touch screen use, because clickable targets in the title/tab bar are packed closer together. (For this same reason, the entire Mac OS X interface as a whole is poorly suited to touch screen use — look at how close the standard close/minimize/zoom buttons are.)

Tuesday, 10 March 2009