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Hmm – interesting article – one that went straight into Evernote before reading any of this discussion.
I’ve spent the past few months using @media queries to adjust site layout for other devices, including our own little website, and it does work very well.
Regarding the use of display: none to hide content – I like Andy Clarke’s solution of placing @media queries inside specific CSS links as shown at the end of this article – <a href=“http://stuffandnonsense.co.uk/blog/about/hardboiled_css3_media_queries/”>Hardboiled CSS3 Media Queries</a>
…browser sniffing being something of a no no of course in today’s web standards world (altho it didn’t stop Apple doing it with their “HTML5 showcase” did it?!)
Which I guess brings me to my main issue with what is otherwise a very useful article, that being the obsession with iPhones (and all things Apple for that matter).
I saw @sazzy at DIBI at the beginning of this year. I nearly didn’t as I didn’t have any interest in making iOS apps, but decided to give it a go and was pleasantly surprised. Not only was Sarah an excellent speaker, clearly skilled and passionate about her work, but a lot of what she said was relevant to all smartphone devices, not just the iPhone.
I can understand that Sarah is a big iOS fan, and has a name for herself as such, with presumably plenty of interesting work making iPhone apps etc, but I think it’s about time we all started accepting that the iPhone is not the be all and end all of mobile phones, <a href=“http://www.alistapart.com/articles/smartphone-browser-landscape/”>as was mentioned</a> in Peter Gasston’s first comment.
I also raised an eyebrow to Aral’s comments that designing for anything other than an iPhone is designing for the lowest common denominator. As I think WSTN so well brought up there’s a big difference between “Nokia dumbphones“and the likes of the HTC Desire.
I can see that an old Nokia WAP phone would be like the IE6 that we all know and hate, and presumably have largely ditched now in terms of development and testing. But the Blackberry’s, Palm, WinMo7 and most significantly Android represent a very real browser share, and one we should be educating our clients about.
If a client came to me asking for a website with an iPhone specific mobile site, I would look for all the research that suggests that within a year or two, Android will be as big as iOS, and if they want to make their website relevant to the typical mobile visitor not just on the day of launch but in 12 or 24 months time when the smartphone market will be a lot more diverse than todays iOS-centric one it would irresponsible for me to say “sure – iPhone only site it is” – I would be pushing very hard to make a site that works across all smartphone devices.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for webdesigning the <a href=“http://hardboiledwebdesign.com/”>Hardboiled</a> way, pushing limits and designing for the best. I do however get a bit irritated by a lot of people that seem to be under the impression that the iPhone browser is so far ahead of all other smartphone browsers that they don’t warrant consideration. There’s very little that Mobile Safari does that Android browser doesn’t – some HTML5 form elements perhaps, but all the amazing webkit juiciness is in there. “The best” that we speak of should include these other webkit enabled smartphones.
And surely this is what the open web standards movement is all about – I honestly think that moving towards closed, native specific platforms is a very bad thing for the web at large – an excellent article by Tim Berners-Lee in the <a href=“http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=long-live-the-web”>Scientific American about this can be found here</a>.
I would much rather be aiming for flexible, cross device mobile sites that play to their typical usage, size restrictions and common hardware opportunities far more forward thinking than spending clients money on closed, platform-exclusive sites that don’t take the future into account websites.
Viva la web app!