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I'm creating a presentation for a dashboard system and I cannot figure out a word that describes a system that can be used on multiple devices or multiple peripheries. This dashboard is a web application, which means it can be viewed by mobile/tablet/PC/others.

What is single word (or variant) for multiple devices in this context?

Example context:

Dashboard is _______ as it can be viewed from both phone and computer.

Also I considered the words "adaptive" and "adaptable", but these are too general, and might have different meanings.

45

You could go with multiplatform.

Compatible with or involving more than one type of computer or operating system. [Oxford]

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    Similarly, and more commonly, cross-platform – talrnu Feb 27 '18 at 22:26
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    @talrnu just be aware that in some contexts, such as gaming, cross-platform specifically implies you can use your data/connect to others who are using a different platform. Multi-platform in these contexts just implies there are multiple releases. – Bilkokuya Feb 28 '18 at 17:17
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    @Bilkokuya A cross-platform game is available on multiple platforms; a game must specifically support cross-platform play to enable players on different platforms to play it with each other. – talrnu Feb 28 '18 at 17:49
  • also sometimes platform independent – MMAdams Feb 28 '18 at 19:39
  • apparently this is a WEB app, so nah – Fattie Mar 1 '18 at 20:21
28

Responsive Web Design is the use of HTML and CSS to automatically tailor the display of the website to the device that it is being viewed on.

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    On one hand, I agree this might be the word I'm looking for, on the other, this is not explicitly refering to "It can work on multiple devices", it just says "hey, I can response generally". I'm sorry that the sentence isn't as clear as I want, unfortunatelly I have no words for better explanation. This answer will be picked as the correct one if there is none better provided in some time. Thanks! :-) – Tatranskymedved Feb 27 '18 at 12:32
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    @Tatranskymedved actually, "Responsive Design" is the technical term for specifically making a web application which scales well regardless of the screen size. It doesn't refer to the page "responding to the user" or things like that, rather the layout responds to the screen size. It may still not be what you want, especially if you want to use it to explain the concept in a non-technical way, but it does specifically refer to working well on a wide variety of devices. – Kamil Drakari Feb 27 '18 at 14:32
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    Responsive Design is actually the correct technical term for this type of web site. see w3schools.com/html/html_responsive.asp – user819490 Mar 1 '18 at 21:56
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    @Tatranskymedved This is the most accurate answer. A quick Google search of "Responsive Wordpress Templates" will illustrate that it means precisely what you are looking for. – Eric Hauenstein Mar 1 '18 at 22:47
  • "hey, I can response generally" Nah, "responsive" is a 100% broadly understood specific term. – Fattie Mar 2 '18 at 11:06
22

A common term is Portable.

Portable software is a software program that can be run on different computers running different operating systems with no or little modifications.

Usually portable is used to describe how software is written. Software that is written portably will use functions that are universal or standardized (e.g. POSIX). A portable application can run on many systems. When non-portable software needs to run on another system, it must be re-written, or ported. Software that is already portable works out of the box or with minimal modifications

If it is easy to get to run on another system, it is portable, otherwise it is said to be non-portable.


A similar term is cross-platform.

A cross-platform computer product or system is a product or system that can work across multiple types of platforms or operating environments. Different kinds of cross-platform systems include both hardware and software systems, as well as systems that involve separate builds for each platform, as well as other broader systems that are designed to work the same way across multiple platforms.

While portable describes how an individual program is written, cross-platform simply describes the end result. Cross-platform software may actually be multiple different versions of the software, tailored to each individual operating system. This is not portable, but it is cross-platform because it runs on more than one system. Cross-platform software may require the developers modify it, often heavily, in order to allow it to run on another system. A video game may be cross-platform if it runs on both the PS4 and Xbox One, but it is not portable as it is not written to be system-agnostic.

If it runs on multiple systems, it is cross-platform, otherwise it is single-platform.

21

Not sure if you'll see this as one word, but I'd go with:

device-agnostic

A device-agnostic mobile application (app), for example, is compatible with most operating systems and may also work on different types of devices, including notebooks, tablet PCs and smartphones. A device-agnostic website is designed to accommodate visitors using mobile devices, desktops or televisions to visit the site. A device-agnostic peripheral device operates with common computing platforms, typically connecting wirelessly.

[techtarget.com]

Another definition from PCMag:

Not tied to a particular device. Same as "machine independent." The term generally refers to software that runs on multiple platforms such as a Java application. It also refers to websites that are as readable in mobile devices as they are on desktop computers.

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    While correct, this phrase can be a problem because it suggests the app works on "pretty much any" device. Even modern web apps need to be careful making this claim. Multi/cross-platform, on the other hand, makes no implication of the number of supported platforms beyond "more than one". It's also just the more common phrase. – talrnu Feb 27 '18 at 22:41
  • @talrnu "Not tied to a particular device" is not the same as "compatible with every device in existence". My driving license is "brand-agnostic", but that doesn't inherently mean that I'm able to drive every vehicle from every brand. The provided definitions heavily rely on keywords of uncertainty or vagueness (most/may/generally/...) to stress that it's not a technical guarantee, but rather a design philosophy (i.e. an intention). – Flater Feb 28 '18 at 11:52
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    @talrnu: Maybe a simpler example: Just because Tommy and Alice are in an open relationship (i.e. Tommy is not exclusively tied to Alice), doesn't mean that Tommy will have sex with literally anyone. Similarly, just because an application is not tied to a specific device, doesn't mean that it runs on literally any device. – Flater Feb 28 '18 at 11:55
  • @Flater: LOL. Well said. – Tushar Raj Feb 28 '18 at 12:11
6

While it is rarely as true as the marketing claims, apps or ads are sometimes described as universal when they are designed to be viewed on multiple platforms.

For example:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/uwp/get-started/whats-a-uwp (Universal Windows app)

https://www.lifewire.com/what-is-universal-app-1994348 (Universal iOS app)

I have my doubts about describing a Windows-only or iOS-only app as "universal" but the term is being used that way.

6

Dashboard is web-based, it can be viewed from both phone and computer.

This will signal that regardless of device or platform, if you have a web browser then you can use this.


If you need additional puffery then device-agnostic could also be used but you may alienate some readers/listeners.


I do not condone the use of cross-platform nor multi-platform in this "dashboard" situation because those words tend to indicate that you have a Windows installer, a Mac installer, Android installer, iPhone installer, etc... for your dashboard.


Google Chrome is truly multi/cross-platform. Firefox is multi/cross-platform. Microsoft Word is multi/cross-platform. These programs have dedicated installers on different platforms.

The web pages which you visit in web browsers are precisely that, web pages.

By association, the web pages are multi-platform because they are viewed in a multi-platform software.


If you wanted to literally advertise your dashboard as multi/cross-platform then that would mean your back-end dashboard software can be installed on a Linux or Windows server and will work on PHP, ASP, Ruby, Python, JSP, and/or Perl and can use a variety of databases.

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    Web apps are regularly described as cross-platform. Java applications are definitively cross-platform and rarely involve an "installer" of any kind. It's about whether the app can run on a given platform, not how. – talrnu Feb 27 '18 at 22:32
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    Dashboard is web-based as it can be viewed from both phone and computer. - I'm not really keen on this phrasing... it implies that it's web-based because it's cross-platform. In reality, it's cross platform because it's web-based... – Shadow Feb 28 '18 at 5:51
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    I do not condone the use of cross-platform nor multi-platform because they tend to indicate that you have a Windows installer, a Mac installer, Android installer, iPhone installer, etc... for your dashboard. Great way to limit your target audience - and potentially your profits - though... Not everyone wants to use Google's products for one thing but whenever a developer puts the burden on the user the user is more likely to go elsewhere. That might be fine for some but it's unreasonable to not - to use your wording - condone such a thing...who is anyone else to say what their goal is? – Pryftan Feb 28 '18 at 20:30
  • @Shadow I modified my suggestion to make a bit more sense. I had copied OP's text verbatim but it can obviously use some improvement. – MonkeyZeus Mar 1 '18 at 13:17
  • @talrnu Java itself is cross/multi-platform but the apps are definitely Java-based. IDK about you but I haven't had much luck installing Oracle SQL Developer on my phone even though it is multi/cross-platform. Some apps do a good job of hiding the Java requirement by including the required Java version directly in the installation but when they don't I think that the chance of install by the average user drops significantly. – MonkeyZeus Mar 1 '18 at 13:21
2

This is a tech specific answer (emphasis mine):

In computing, cross-platform software (also multi-platform software or platform-independent software) is computer software that is implemented on multiple computing platforms.

-Wiki

2

From a user interface technology perspective the "correct" term is Responsive. However in more casual conversation I would use the term "agile". Not so much to relate it to the software development methodology but the original meaning of agile. The connotations are all relevant.

  • Welcome to EL&U. Please add references to support your answer. You may also want to leave out the parts that duplicate JonLarby's answer. – Rupert Morrish Mar 1 '18 at 19:50
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    Nevertheless, the only correct answer. – Fattie Mar 1 '18 at 20:22
1

To me, the main concept is that it is ____ in the way an application syncs on iPhone, iPad, in iTunes, iCloud etc. (I'm an Android person, haha.)

portable. (@forest)

cloud-based, device-synchronized, device independent, synchronous, integrated...

While looking for a page to link to in order to reference Apple's website, I found they are now using the word "Continuity" for this system!

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