PlayBook GUI fragmentation

When I was first learning C#, the book I was reading encouraged a “look like Windows” approach to GUI design. The idea was that people were already used to seeing Microsoft’s software, and if your application functioned in the same way, it would be lessen the learning curve for new users. I have used a similar “look like RIM” approach in designing applications for BlackBerry. Whenever possible the use of native buttons, titlebars, dropdown menus, and dialogs have been used. This insures that the interface is familiar, and that it fits the look of the device.

The BlackBerry PlayBook is going to have difficulty showing a native look and feel in most of its applications. The main reason being the many different approaches to developing for it. For Flex alone, interfaces can be built using QNX components, native flash components, flash mobile components, completely custom done, or from one of many available libraries. Additionally the look of applications from WebWorks, and the native SDK will have differences as well.

From a technical standpoint this is not really a problem, as all of these approaches will work, and result in applications that are pretty similar. In the end however, it is best for most users if PlayBook applications were able to gain a more cohesive look and feel.