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Hmm… Does Your Site Work On iPhone?

Wow, great new website you have there! Too bad it’s useless to the new generation of web users on the go who need to find you!

Smart phones are everywhere. At the rate we’re seeing their adoption, everyone will have them within 5 years. When Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone concept it was one of those moments where you could see ten years ahead: it was breathtaking. While web has been supported on phones for almost a decade now, it was the iPhone that made it possible to have an interface that could make it practical to navigate complex web pages.

Even with this user interface revolution, we’ve got web content being pulled in two very different directions: on the one hand we’ve got larger LCD desktops and laptops pushing web pages to be bigger, better, wider, and more memory intensive, on the other we’ve got tiny little screens that would prefer to be operating in HTML 1.0 land circa 1995.

The good news is that today’s more sophisticated web development techniques using databases as a source for content, optional phone compatibility is not necessarily difficult. What is difficult is if you waltz into an arrangement to build you new website without plans to make it mobile handset compatible. Chances are your developer isn’t going to go out of their way to plan ahead, because the industry hasn’t quite realized the writing on the wall yet.

Considering that your website can be a sizable investment, and with phones being used more often than ever for local search on the go, you need to be sure you are ready. Here are some tips:

  • Ask for your site to be built with handheld capability in mind. Ideally, request that it is database driven. While this is more expensive at first, it will save you money later. There are a lot of developers out there who can’t even do this sort of thing, so beware!
  • Be sure to have at least a minimal amount of basic text content on your home page, and keep links at the footer of your pages for those phones that just disregard flash and images.
  • If you already have a complex flash or graphics site that isn’t phone compatible, ask your developer to create a cleanly marked basic HTML version of your site content linked to clearly near the top of your page. The more simplistic, the better, as it will allow for ALL mobile devices to navigate your site. Ask your developer to stick to old HTML 4.0 standards.