How iPhone Safari is Changing Mobile Web

With all these iPhone news and media coverage in the past week, let’s take a little time to focus on how this will affect mobile web design, both in the short term and in the long term. iPhone brings to the table what could probably be one of the most advanced Internet browser for mobile devices: iPhone Safari. Although it lacks support for java and flash, Safari brings the desktop experience of browsing the Internet to a mobile device.

The basic premise of how iPhone safari works is that you can view a web site on its entirety without rearranging their content. This way the website as the designer has visualized it, is preserved. To move around the page, you can use Safari’s built-in zooming and panning actions using finger gestures and taps. What this means at the very least is that using Safari for iPhone, you wouldn’t have to worry that your design would be messed up when the the user sees it. Safari also has a strong support for AJAX technologies. This makes it a very able platform to deploy web applications. In fact as of now, this is the only way to deploy “applications” through iPhone. All these advanced features are all good news for the web designers, first because a mobile device browser that has strong standards support is now available for a mobile device, and second, in the long term perspective, safari will be raising the bar for mobile device browsers.

Even if apple only reaches (and not surpass) its goal of capturing 1% of the market share for smart phones, they would have then created a pressure for other mobile device software companies to come up with a competitive browser. And web designers will no longer be limited in creating user experiences that are as enjoyable in the mobile context as they are in the desktop.

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