Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Portrait or landscape? Each users has their preference, but the iPad's 4:3 display allows users to enjoy both

I prefer my iPad sitting in landscape; Chris Cartel, publisher of Hoodgrown has told me he prefers portrait. Luckily for both of us, Apple created the iPad a bit square – 4:3 to be exact. Other manufacturers, perhaps sensing an opening, have created their new tablets in 16:9, perfect for viewing videos, but not necessarily better for publications.

John Gruber, writing today on his Daring Fireball website, posted about his own preference for keeping his iPad in portrait, echoing another post from Tim Bray.

This got me thinking about the screenshots I use here at TNM. So I conducted a little experiment: I grabbed some shots from some media apps that have been seen here during the month of May and strung them together into a video without any special effects other than dissolving between screenshots. The result, as you will see, shows the obvious: somethings work well in portrait, others in landscape.

Thanks to the iPad's rather square appearance, designed in 4:3 rather than the more HDTV-like 16:9, both orientations can work depending on the situation.

Apparently Gruber agrees because by the time I had gathered together my shots and loaded them into iMovie he had already amended his post writing "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."

I totally agree with that!