Tall and Narrow

Tim Bray on tablet orientation:

As in, portrait not landscape. It’s the way to go. Which is to say, tablets should be held with the short bits at the top and bottom.

I agree. For everything except watching video and playing certain games, I prefer to hold my iPad in portrait orientation. One of the things I find curious about Android tablets and the BlackBerry PlayBook is that they’ve all chosen to go 16:9. To me, 16:9 tablets only look right when held in landscape — they look too skinny when held in portrait. Considering all the things they copy from Apple, it seems weird not to copy the iPad’s 4:3 aspect ratio. 16:9 is ideal for video, but 4:3 is a good trade-off for a device intended to be used in portrait much of the time.

Update: Lots of feedback from iPad users who strongly prefer landscape. OK, so let me try again: 4:3 is a good balance for a device that’s meant to be used in either orientation.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011