Beyond Consumption and Creation

March 6, 2013 •

Frasier Spiers comes up with an interesting way to compare iPhones, iPads, and “PC” devices:

I’d like to propose that we can look at the ‘sweet spot’ for each type of device along two axes: task complexity and task duration. Task duration is the more obvious of the two: how long of a continuous period will you be using your device for the task.

Task complexity requires a little more unpacking. When I talk of “complexity”, I’m looking at a combination of factors that make a task complex:

  • The number of steps to completion
  • The extent to which you’re combining data from multiple sources
  • The amount of data that is being manipulated
  • The linearity or otherwise of those steps - the less linear, the more complex the task

This certainly seems to encompass the things I think about when I decide which device to use for a particular task. Whilst the iPad can undoubtebly be used for creation, rather than just consumption, there are still tasks that require a more PC-like interface to accomplish them. Taking advantage of the strengths of each device is the key to getting the most out of your computing experience.