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Dave Winer on Serving Special Layouts to the iPad Browser

Dave Winer, on Google’s “tablet”-optimized layout for search results on the iPad:

Designers really need to hear the following, loud and clear: The iPad browser is fully capable. It doesn’t need you to treat it differently. You’re fighting with users when you get fancy. Just stick with what works on the desktop.

I agree, but Google’s search results are not best example here. At least the layout is “tablet”-optimized. The worst are sites that detect the iPad and serve phone-optimized web pages. The iPad display is small by PC standards, yes, but Mobile Safari’s scaling and zooming are so seamless that almost all desktop web layouts work remarkably well — and certainly better than phone layouts meant to look best on 3.5-inch displays. (I suspect the problem with Google’s “tablet” layout is that it’s meant for 7-inch 16:9 aspect-ratio Android tablets — and their not-as-nice-as-Mobile-Safari browsers — just as much as for the iPad.)

Worse than the worst, of course, are sites like the NY Post, that refuse to work on the iPad period, telling you that you need to download their app from the App Store. The iPad is a wonderful web browsing device. To ignore that, or treat it as a crippled browser, is folly.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011