Remember the old days when we were promised jetpacks, flying skateboards and the mobile web? Well we still haven’t got the Back to the Future gear but some would argue that devices like the iPhone do bring us closer to the internet, anywhere.
The iPhone gives you the best experience browsing the web on a mobile phone although contrarily to what some people seem to believe, that’s because it doesn’t need iPhone-specific pages to feel right. Apple did a terrific job at crafting a device that gives you the web (as it is today) in your hands. And that takes me to my main point: which is that designing pages exclusively for the iPhone is a dumb idea.
Dumb? But it’s the iPhone!
Here’s a hypothesis: Google launches their own mobile device, say, tomorrow – and it’s so beautiful you need to have it. In fact, it’s so amazing you’ll be throwing that iPhone out the window. Suddenly you get it, all those iPhone-crafted pages are suddenly useless, because they are built specifically with one device in mind.
The mobile web never really took up because designers tend to design for what’s closest to their hearts – and right now that’s the glassy phone with the Apple logo. As most people will tell you, being “closed” is a lousy way to get wide adoption – and this is just about as closed as you can get. Think about it, you’re designing pages specifically for a $599 device and expect huge visits? Oh, come on.
Design for the experience, not the device
A better idea is to design for an experience, not a specific device like the iPhone. Just like you design for desktop browsers by assessing constraints (like window size) and building an experience based on those constraints, why not do it for mobile devices in general? Truth is carefully crafted pages can actually display perfectly both on the desktop and the mobile web (iPhone or not).
The iPhone actually goes a very long way in making sure pages today work great. Instead of building a page specifically for the phone, why not one that gracefully scales to fit the device’s screen? It guarantees you’re not spending resources building for a specific device and effectively means you can focus on building one experience that’s maintained across all platforms. Give it a try.
PS: Have you also noticed how most of these iPhone-specific pages are trying hard to mimic Apple’s design too? Sacrificing resources and a brand just to make something blend in on one device is a lot worse than spending those resources on maintaining quality across the board.Click here to read the full post!