You may notice that some websites on Windows 8 ask you to open them in the desktop version of Internet Explorer, rather than the modern UI version, because they are written in Flash – even though Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 8 has an integrated Flash Player, avoiding the need to download and install an add-in. The reason is that if you’re using a touch tablet, then some Flash websites are difficult to navigate because they need you to do things like a mouse double-click (tricky when you’ve only got a finger, not a mouse!).
So we maintain a list of websites that work on well with touch tablets, and these are the only ones that you can open with the Windows 8 modern UI version of IE10, otherwise you have to open them with the desktop version.
You may remember a few months ago that I wrote about "How to get a Flash website working smoothly on Windows 8 and Windows RT", describing the background to designing a web experience that doesn’t require plug-ins for browsers. This is an important step to improve browser performance, accessibility support, increase battery life on mobile devices like laptops and tablets, and to increase security and reliability.
We’ve been working with various publishers to ensure their websites work well with touch devices. Yesterday, we added Mathletics to the list, so if you go to www.mathletics.com.au on any Windows 8 device, it will now let you use Mathletics in full on any Windows 8 device (Windows RT or Windows 8, with either ARM or Intel processors). This is much better than having Mathletics content available through an app, because the website gives you access to the full Mathletics system and library of resources, whereas the mobile apps contain just a smaller subset.
This is good news for Australian schools, where Mathletics is widely used, but a quick look at the Mathletics leaderboard shows there’s a long list of other countries that will benefit too.