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Posts Tagged ‘Safari’

10 Reasons I Want To Sleep With My iPhone

In iPhone on March 12, 2008 at 1:03 pm

I’ve realised that I’ve stirred up something of an angst in slating the iPhone. I mean, I’m lucky enough to own one – I should be happy. The contract terms were clear enough if I’d read it properly, and maybe, according to some, I shouldn’t be making calls whilst driving – even if that is with a hands free kit.

But it’s still a great phone, and it and I are practically inseparable. So much so that it’s tempting to sleep with it under my pillow (what, you thought I meant sleeping with it that way?! Eugh, you disgust me!) so that mid-dream I can double check a fact on Wikipedia.

So here goes. I may run out before 10….

  1. I adore the UI. Apple are the first to bring true multi-touch to the mass market. MS are lagging here with their Surface coffee table – which you can’t carry anyway. It really is an intuitive interface.
  2. It just works. Well, for most things it does. I fired up the Windows Mobile machine for the first time in a while. Since then I’d reconfigured the Wi-Fi in the household. Could I get the damn thing to connect? Come on MS – these things should be simple!
  3. It’s gorgeous to look at. So gorgeous in fact that several people* have offered to sleep with me in order to look at it. This morning in fact. Either that or the cheap pig pheromone spray I bought is doing the trick.
  4. The screen is just right. Contrasty, sharp… it’s everything a screen should be.
  5. Browsing the Internets is wonderful. The best internet browser you’ve ever used on a portable device to date. I repeat… The Best. Forget Opera Mobile. Forget Minimo. Forget whatever heap of junk they wedged into your mobile phone… Safari on the iPhone rocks.
  6. It doesn’t play Flash. You may question my sanity, but for me it’s great – I can go to a potential client who may well be insisting on a Flash only website. The iPhone lets me demonstrate, with wonderfully simple clarity, why that would be A Bad Idea.
  7. It annoys Apple haters. Personally I’m pretty ambivalent about Apple. They do some cool stuff (iPhone, OSX) and some not so cool stuff (iPod Touch, Apple TV) and that’s just like a lot of companies. But I love anything that irritates fanboyz on either side of the fence. Get real guys – these are just big corporates fighting for your cash – don’t make it so easy by getting all fervently religious about it.
  8. I now carry a decent camera about. OK, I’m scraping the barrel a bit now, but because I won’t carry two phones, when I moved from the N95 to the iPhone I lost a 5MP camera and rather wonderful video facility. However, the N95 still can’t hold a candle to a cheap Canon compact. Ultimately, good compact cameras rock far more than any mobile phone. Mobile phones have led to a deterioration in good photography. Let’s fight back for decent cameras!
  9. iTunes isn’t actually that bad. I’d avoided it for years, but now got forced into it. However, I’ll accept that life’s like that sometimes. And in the end, iTunes isn’t that bad. It’s especially good with podcasts and I’m now enjoying radio programmes I kept missing, as well as the musings of the likes of Gareth Jones On Speed and Stephen Fry’s Podgrams. I’m happy.
  10. I love touching it. Seriously. Just try it. Hold it in your hand. Rub it against your body. Bring it to your lips. You will, I assure you, have to have the thing prised from your clenched…. fingers. Be careful touching other people’s iPhones, however, because you really don’t know where it’s been.

So there you go. A bit of balance. Perhaps.

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Go from three inches to, erm, 40 inches!

In Design, iPhone, Web Design on January 17, 2008 at 10:52 am

No, not spam, for a change, but the problem of designing for a world where your website could be viewed on anything from an iPhone or Nokia N95 (tiny screens, no Flash) through to a Playstation 3 or Wii connected to 40″ or larger TV screens.

They all have different resolutions, colour rendering (view the pictures below), interfaces, and so on.

Let’s take a look at this picture:

Three Browsers, at vastly different sizes

In the picture, you have three things connected to the internet, all wirelessly, running three different browsers and on different resolutions.

I’m now going to be quite geeky and go through the different displays and browsers involved…

LG 26″ LCD TV, Opera Browser on a Nintendo Wii

Now, sadly the Wii isn’t known for its high res capabilities. It runs at This means that the best it can do with most websites can be described as ‘passable’. The browsing experience isn’t actually too bad once you’ve got your favourites in. Funnily enough, the requirements for good design on this setup are remarkably similar to the little iPhone hiding beneath it – because of both the low resolution (a Wii, I believe, outputs at 854×480) and the clumsy control systems on both. You need big, easy to click links, clear design, and no Flash.

The screen is 56.5cm by 34cm giving an area of 1921 cm2 and 409920 viewable pixels.

Laptop 14″ Widescreen, Running XP and Firefox

Now this is a more conventional screen resolution. 1280×768. The dpi is conventional (I’m guessing about 96dpi off the top of my head) and the OS, browser and CPU all are up to the job. Most people should get it right for this sort of system, but it’s worth bearing in mind a few things… you can see that it’s nothing like as bright or white as the other two displays in the image. Yep, you got it – all screens render colours differently. That means you have to pick your colours carefully. We had a burnt orange on a website that a client insisted on once. It looked like an insipid green/orange on a cheap old Dell screen.

So not only do we have to think about all the different sizes, we have colours to worry about too! For our own designs we check on a number of screens to make sure colours don’t go weird. Some will, some won’t, and it’s hard to predict.

The screen is 30.5cm by 18.5cm giving an area of 564 cm2 and 983040 viewable pixels.

iPhone, Running Safari

The iPhone is the current geek status symbol mobile phone. I got mine as a Xmas present and in terms of web browsing it’s really moved the game forward. As a phone it’s a bit sucky compared to more phone like mobiles (if you see what I mean) – no voice dialing and ropey bluetooth support means that making phone calls as I drive is no longer a safe game – I can’t simply prod the bluetooth button on the dashboard, say the name of the person I wish to speak to, and continue. But I’m going off on a tangent.

By bringing us a very neat and portable web solution, the iPhone and iPod Touch have made surfing the net while waiting at a train station, or sitting in the garden a far easier proposition. And they’ve sold millions of them so far. And you can be anything that people owning them are visiting your website. And if your site is hard for them to use, they’ll get their kicks elsewhere and maybe, just maybe, be drawn to a rival’s website. You wouldn’t want that would you?

The screen is 7.5cm by 5cm giving an area of 37.5 cm2 and 153600 viewable pixels.

Right, So They’re Different…Tell Me Something New!

Now ok, that’s shown they’re different – quite markedly so. And what does that mean? Well it means that if you want your website to work with all browsers, you’re going to have to take a good, long hard look at what you’re offering to those different users.

An iPhone user is possibly on the move, trying to poke links on a moving bus. A Wii user is shakily pointing their remote at a screen that may well be larger than the owner. A laptop owner has a nice, precise mouse. A desktop PC of course could be a different proposition. A friend of mine uses a simply vast 30″ monitor for doing artwork – his browsing experience is vastly different.

And consider this: the screen area of a 26″ TV is 51 times larger than an iPhone, and the resolution of a laptop screen is way higher than most other things. I saw one laptop with a 1920×1200 screen recently and the dpi was ridiculously dense (if slightly gorgeous for picture viewing!) – that means they may have larger fonts. What’s your design going to do with that?

Ten years ago screens ranged, mostly, from around 640×480 to 1280×1024. Anything outside of that scope was rare or had a very limited browser.

My point then is that if we’re going to service the needs of the now widely varied viewers, we have to make some hard decisions. Fluid design isn’t the answer – reading a 20″ long line of text on a big monitor is horrible. Perhaps larger sites, with more money, could serve up different versions of their content, designed for different screens. BBC does that, with designs for tiny WAP mobile phones, PDAs and full browsers. Our sites have a mobile css for small screen mobile phones, though it doesn’t detect all of them. It just serves a cut down text only version of the site.

The web industry is starting to get hard, both businesses and designers need to know this. I believe that their current practices could leave them only servicing 40% of potential visitors in the near future. And that simply won’t do.