iPhone Only: Elitist Web Design Approaches
By Gerard McGarry on 9th August 2007, filed in Web Browsers, Web Design & Standards. Both comments and pings are currently closed. Tags: Apple, Compatibility, Design, iPhone, Web Design, Web Standards
When I’m working on a website – any website – I’m thinking about how to maximize the audience that site gets.
I’ll make my best efforts to ensure that the pages can be viewed properly in the majority of web browsers, and I’ll do my level best to test that the code is accessible and valid.
That’s why I find this post by Eric Meyer disturbing. Eric points to a recent trend where people are developing iPhone-only websites. Now, these folks are likely cashing in on a trend, aiming for ‘cool points’ by supporting the latest Apple mega-gadget, but to exclude the rest of the web?
I’ll put it this way: web standards allow you to serve up a different stylesheet depending on the device. You can have the same page, the same underlying (X)HTML code, but a different stylesheet that caters to the device in question. So why lock non-iPhone users out?
As Eric says in his post:
I might be willing to entertain the argument if the iPhoneís browser were some specialized non-web contraption. Itís not. Itís a full-fledged XHTML+CSS+DOM browser that happens to lag a bit in some implementation areas and wonít run some plugins.
What percentage of the web browsing population is using an iPhone? Take a look at your web stats and find out. Internet Explorer is still a dominant force, FireFox (from my stats) has about a 12-16% market share. Safari, Opera and Camino have less than 5% market share combined. Looking at my own stats, I see a few rogue handheld devices connecting to my sites, but why create a bespoke site for iPhones, Sony Ericssons or whatever else?
Perhaps I’ll be proven wrong, and the iPhone will gain some kind of global dominance to rival the two main browsers. Maybe then I’ll have to give it some more thought. But in the meantime, I’ll concentrate on making my pages work for the majority of the market, thank you very much.
[tags]iPhone, Design, Web Standards, Compatibility[/tags]