Startup #154 – Touch Web


It’s snowing like crazy here in Seattle, the city is practically shut down, and I couldn’t be happier.  Tomorrow I’m leaving for Christmas break and will be gone for about two weeks, so happy holidays to all if I don’t get a chance to post while I’m home for the holidays.

In honor of Christmas, I’m going to post an idea that I’ve had for a while and seriously contemplated not posting it here ‘cause I liked it so much.  But it’s Christmas, so why not?  Plus…it’s not like anyone ever reads these ideas anyway…  🙂

I’m predicting that over the next 1-3 years, we’re going to start to see a major shift as users move from mouse+keyboard to touch as the primary input to their computing devices. However, today every mainstream website is optimized for the mouse+keyboard.  Similar to the other revolutionary UX switches, such as the move from command-line to GUI interfaces, or even the shift from client apps to the web, this one is going to have a major impact on the way users interact with their machines, and the opportunity to get in early with a killer product is pretty huge.

My idea is to create user experiences for all the major mainstream web verticals (such as Email, social networking, news, search, etc..) that are designed primarily for use with touch. For verticals that have a high switching cost (such as mail and social networking), instead of trying to build from scratch, the focus should be on a front end that pulls from an existing service (i.e. pulls from gmail pop or Facebook connect). Users could choose the verticals that they use on a daily basis, and each service would be available from different tabs. The core UX elements would be consistent across all services, and would be optimized for use with a touch screen.

In addition to just creating silo-ed front ends to various apps, this idea could really be taken to the next level by leveraging the cross-site synergies across the services.  For example, a drop-dead simple photo storage service where users could drag sets of photos onto photos of people that you want to send the pics to via mail, or drag it onto a Twitter icon to shoot out a link to the photo set to your followers.  Or maybe an add-in to your mail inbox that pulls out attachments and gives you cloud storage options based on the file type (i.e. post presentations to SlideShare, photos to Flickr or Facebook, Excel files to Blist, videos to YouTube, etc..).

(photo cc from flickr by drp)


5 responses to “Startup #154 – Touch Web

  1. That is a fantastic idea. Won’t it kill you when you see someone else implement it?!

  2. Thanks, man! But honestly, I’d love to see this idea get implemented – I’m not going to do it, so someone else might as well take this one on. But if by chance they saw the idea here first and then built it out, I’d maybe want them to buy me a beer or something.

  3. Hehe, good stuff! 😀 Would you see this as a web service so people can keep accessing their stuff with this from every touch device or as an desktop app or even integrated in the OS?
    Happy holidays & all the best for 2009! Keep the ideas coming 🙂

  4. Thanks Toby, happy holidays to you too. I was seeing this initially as a web service, but I think there would be some interesting desktop-style applications by partnering with the hardware manufacturers and building a “quick start” app to be used with touch tablets with instant on capabilities, so users could start using the computer while it booted up.

  5. The thing is I think this will be skipped. Touch doesnt work for every one (myself being one of them). I was for a very brief time a plumber. I sweated pipes together and burned my fingers about 6 times an hour. The calises formed are apparently non conductive. With current tech including prosthetic limbs with mind control


    And the new motion pads (i never saved the link to this one since I saw it over 6 months ago on a Japanese site) Sadly this idea will probably never pay off, unless in terms of satisfaction knowing you did it.

    Medical applications drive production , production drives down cost, low cost drives mass implementation. That being said I can’t wait to stop typing (which i suck at) and start thinking.

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