With its advanced Safari browser, iPhone lets you see web pages the way they were designed to be seen, then easily zoom in by simply tapping on the multi-touch display with your finger. This sounds very good and revolutionary, but the important question here is now that you have an iPhone, how easy is it to read long passages of text on it?
O’Reilly Missing Manual editor Peter Meyers had published a very good review of how well the iPhone works for reading and probably the conclusion of that article has resulted in many iPhone-friendly websites popping out recently.
The conclusion of the tests carried out by Peter Meyers on three different kinds of content: a book from O’Reilly’s Safari online reading library, a Web site whose layout appeared especially readable on the iPhone, and a PDF was:
"iPhone-friendly Web sites are the clear winner. Safari books take second place and are readable for about 10 pages or so at time. PDFs are as lame as ever on the small screen."
Mobile specific clients do tend to work better than accessing the original page directly so I guess it shouldn’t be surprising to see iPhone-friendly websites being release, someone even has come out with inflammatory statements suggesting "The iPhone is Internet Explorer 4 All Over Again".
I do not want to get sucked into an argument on this one and get diverted from the main reason for writing this article, which is to introduce some of the top iPhone-friendly websites that have been launched so far infact we had quite a few of them launched this week. So below are the top four iPhone-friendly websites:
The main navigation tabs such as Home, Profile, Friends and Inbox are available at the top of the site. You can click on any person and see their profile, wall or photos via a horizontally scrolling interface.
One of the features missing in the iPhone-friendly website is ability to join a group which means at least for now you will need to join groups using your computer.
Netvibes as some of you would already be aware allows users to add all sorts of content such as RSS feeds and communication widgets to customizable pages, making it an ideal homepage or gateway to the online world. It always had a mobile version of their portal and earlier this week have launched iPhone-friendly portal.
The Netvibes iPhone portal is still in beta, but you can check out the RSS reader by pointing your iPhone to m.nv1.netvibes.com which folks at Wired have claimed to be one of the fastest readers they have used on the iPhone.
The iPhone version offers complete access to all your tabs one of the popular features in case of mobile devices. The thing going for Netvibes as compared to other RSS readers is that along with all those feeds you also get handy to-do and social widgets in a slick user interface.
The popular social networking site also has the iPhone-friendly version, infact this was launched shortly after iPhone’s launch. The iPhone-friendly version supports:
- Native iPhone-like story scrolling
- Mini permalink pages with top 5 comments
- Login and Digging
- Jump to any topic
As one would expect, Digg.com iPhone version is lighter and faster way to visit Digg from your iPhone and takes advantage of iPhone’s user interface feature.
Online retail giant Amazon has also jumped onto the iPhone party by launching its own iPhone-friendly website. The iPhone site is quite slick and provides an iPhone users quite a few navigation options.
The iPhone-friendly website has the search box at the top of the page followed by horizontal scrolling thumbnails of the top selling music albums, with a pull down menu on all the categories. You then have a button link for feedback on the beta site and at the bottom you have links for signing into your account, viewing your shopping cart and the Help section.
Amazon’s iPhone-friendly site makes it the best site for online shopping on your iPhone.
If you know of an iPhone-friendly site do share it with fellow readers in the comments below.
Oreillynet.com, Reading Books on the iPhone
Wired.com, The IPhone Is Internet Explorer 4 All Over Again
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