By Ben Stallings on Thu, 04/16/2009
As a Web developer for the iPhone Life site, one of the projects on my to-do list is to make this site iPhone-friendly. That sounds like it would be a top priority, but what with one thing or another it's been delayed. Probably the most influential excuse is that the mobile Safari browser does a pretty good job of navigating the site without any adaptation. But now it's becoming a top priority, and I'm realizing, I don't know which way to go about it would make the most people happy. So I'm asking you!
One option (shown above) would be to keep the existing layout, but specify the viewport so that mobile Safari would start out showing you just part of the page instead of the whole page. As you can see, in landscape mode, the page is already readable at this size. All the ads are still there, which makes our advertisers happy; you just have to scroll to see them. Subsequent pages could have the viewport focused on the central column, so you could get straight to reading blogs or whatever without zooming in.
Another option is to use a completely different layout when showing our site to iPhone users. This is the strategy sites like Facebook use ... even though there's a Facebook app for iPhone, when you go to Facebook in Safari, you get the iPhone-optimized site. Since there will be an iPhone Life app available in the next month, we're in a similar situation. The home page would probably just be a menu, with options similar to the ones you see across the top of the page: Blogs, Current News, Apps, Tips, Best Sites, and so on. Each page would be reduced to one column. Ads (which are necessary to our budget) would have to be resized to fit that width.
So the question is, what do you prefer? What do you want to see first when you come to our site with mobile Safari?