I recently upgraded my iPad to the latest version (iPad 4) with retina display. And happily used it to finalise a new website design that we were undertaking for a client that included iPad styling and optimisation.
It got me thinking about the number of users that are out there that are using the iPad to browse the internet. Numerous statistics on mobile internet usage from 2012 suggest that around 30% of all internet usage is from a mobile device.
You night instantly think "my website should work fine on the iPad". I guess the question is, does it? Have you looked?
Considering how competitive the econnomy is at the moment it's becoming more important to capture your audience as soon as you can. If they come to your website on an iPad then leave because it doesn't display correctly (or at all) then they are very unlikely to return to your site once they get in frount of a computer.
Technology is evolving at what seams to be a standard 1 year lifespan. With most tablets and phones releasing new "Improved" versions yearly. As with the "New" iPad with retina display, it has a greatly improved screen with an increased 264ppi (pixels per inch) than standard monitors. Images that look sharp and clear on a desktop all of a sudden look soft or blurry on an iPad or iPhone 4.
How often have you gone into a meeting and a question has come up about a supplier or competitor? Someone inevitably pulls out their iPad and has a look at their website. We've all been there and done that. As have your competitors and potential customers.
If you still don't have a iPad-friendly version of your website you're most likely turning away potential customers without knowing it.
Now I'm not going to get into iPhone optimised websites as that is a different subject. Typically iPad users will use them on a wireless network and have a screen size that is quite capable of displaying a full website, not a mobile version, which has limited graphics and information.
So what are the main things to look at when it comes to designing or optimising a website to work on an iPad?
- Display your company's most important information at the top in plain text. This includes your name, address, contact information and perhaps a brief description of what you do.
- Don't include Flash on your mobile site.
- Make information easy to read. Don't complicate navigation, and don't make users download PDFs. The more straightforward, the better.
- Introduce data visualisation techniques to quickly and easily represent important data to users
- There is no mouse on a tablet so hover states wont work.
- Make sure your layouts work in both Portrait and landscape
So what does it all mean?
Quite simply design for iPad's and tablet devices is something we now consider as important as designing for browsers on traditional computers. We liase with clients to define a mobile strategy, whether the client requires a specific mobile website, a ‘responsive’ design or whether they require a mobile app in addition or instead.