Magnus Nilsson

Optimize Your Website In Preparation For The iPad

9 comments

With the imminent release of the Apple iPad, the publishing industry is about to take yet another giant leap into the digital space. So how can you prepare your site to take advantage of the hype, and also create a great web experience for your future iPad-using visitors? Simplistically, you can liken Apple’s tablet to a giant iPhone or iPod touch. However, the much greater screen and the improved multi-touch functionality will likely impact the way users interact with the device, and consequently your website.

Without having an iPad in front of you, there are still a few things that you can consider when preparing your site.

First, if your site uses Flash, now is the time to think about a move to open web standards. Just as with the iPhone, the tablet will not support Adobe’s proprietary format. The pad instead favors the potent HTML 5 standard for interaction and H.264 or MPEG-4 for movie viewing. And in the process you’ll likely increase the SEO of your site.

Second, the screen, just shy of ten inches, comes packed with 1024 by 768 pixels, which is similar to many netbooks. While the densely placed pixels will allow users to view sites in full-size with sharp text and detailed images, developers must make sure that even people without 20/20 vision are able to overview the content without having to zoom in and out all the time. Although you want them to interact with your site, you don’t want them to grow tired with “pinch fatigue.”

Apple’s Safari browser does a great job at rendering ordinary web pages, but sites that will excel in user experience are the ones leveraging the uniqueness of the iPad. The addition of a GPS will be key in delivering local content to increase relevance and user experience. And any iGadget user will also have gotten to expect the swiping gestures to change pages or flick through images.

Although there seem to be plenty of interest for the iPad and other tablets, in reality it will take a long time before most general sites are likely to see significant number of visitors via these devices. But being quick off the mark has many advantages, one of them being that you can start the optimization processes early and provide a highly polished and refined user experience that will stand out against the competition once the iPads of the world achieve mass-market appeal.

About the Author

Magnus Nilsson is Managing Director at RED Performance, an Oslo-based agency that helps clients increase their online marketing results.

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9 Comments

  1. My site is optimised for the iPhone already, will this mean it will work well on the ipad too? .-= Freebiejeebies´s last blog ..Free iPad =-.

  2. I've never optimised my site for anything, and I've always found that it looked OK on the iPhone and iPod touch. Will I have to do anything for the iPad? Or will it display like a Mac?

  3. Hi In general, most sites will work well on the pad. The article points out that if you're using flash you need to consider alternatives. Other than that, its just about making sure its great experience (considering the screen and how people interact) .-= Magnus Nilsson´s last blog ..Brand Building through Paid Search Marketing =-.

  4. Apart from the flash, you just mean actualy display asthetics right? Like text and image size to make it work on the iPhone and iPad as well as normal browers?

  5. Yepp, mostly about usability to make it not too fidly to navigate the site, or too strenuous on the eyes to read.

  6. I have created many websites and they always seem to display differently on the iPhone and other devices. I always make my web pages about 900 pixels wide so that 1024 screens fit it nicely. All I need is to know now is how to get different images to nest next to each other properly on mobile devices, if you can help with that then let me know.

  7. This is a great help, the website in my link doesn't look right on the iPad so I'll be using your advise to try and make it better. Thanks.

  8. Having just optimised a school intranet home page for iPad I can recommend spending some time on the task. The PC home page I inherited works very well for all sizes of monitor as it has some centering and left margin alignment code, but on an iPad - uggh. Basically the left edge was being cut off, and other items were scattered across the page. Optimising the page seemed to be a matter of 'back to basics' with the code - using very simple table layouts and paring back to no-frills. What I am still looking for is a way to properly detect what the user has (PC or iPad) and give them the oppropriate page. I have tried a few found on the 'net, but can't seem to get them to work - but I admit to being ignorant of how to properly implement them.

  9. Great article! Very useful information. Thanks for sharing