IDBS Blog | 12th October 2011

After the iPad, Will Research Data Ever Be the Same?

“We’ll always need to record and search through our research data but how we do this will never be the same.”  This is probably how the Apple iPad advert for an “iResearch” app would run. How true it will become only time will tell.

There are certainly advantages to having access to your research data on the move where a truly mobile, always-on device like the iPad is a big plus. However, where I think devices like the iPad will take us in our marketplace is toward better and more intuitive usability in our research software.

Why do I say this?

I think many in the software industry have become lazy.  With modern software development it is easy to add a button here, a nested menu there and expose an ever increasing list of functionality. But making development so easy has stopped us thinking. Where usability is concerned, less is often more.

What I found developing the ChemJuice and ChemJuice Grande applications for the iPhone and iPad is that we really had to think hard about the user experience.

Why? Because the device and its gesture based paradigm force you to think differently. Everything has to become an extension of your fingertips and screen space is a premium.

Gone are all the things you took for granted – the Windows menu and toolbar system, the right click menu. So you have no choice but to think differently and it makes you think user experience.

It has been a thoroughly invigorating experience and I am getting more and more excited about where it can take us in the future.

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