How whe iPhone will impact Mobile Web Design

The iPhone launches today and will change the cell phone industry forever.  But I believe it will also change web design.  It may be a gradual change but this is the start of something new for the industry.

Up until now browsing a website on a hand held device has been cumbersome and unappealing.  The pages are usually stripped down and do not display the same as they do on a computer.  The iPhone looks like it will change that.  The early reviews say that this is by far the best browsing experience anyone has had on a cell phone.

So far, all of Apple’s marketing material only shows a couple of sites being browsed using the iPhone.  And these are large volume sites like The New York Times and Amazon.  They likely have been displaying their content to fit mobile devices for a while now.

How many websites will display properly on a screen with a resolution of 350 pixels wide?  Many websites have sections that are explicitly told to display at a width much larger than that.  What happens when these sites are viewed on an iPhone?  Will this version of the Safari browser scale the sites automatically?  No one knows for sure yet.

But what we do know is that more people will begin viewing websites on cell phones.  The iPhone is just the beginning.  If it indeed does deliver a successful browsing experience then more and more consumers are going to expect this type of experience on their own phones.

Over the next few years it will become commonplace for users to view websites on a cell phone.  Right now only a fraction of sites are optimized for mobile phones.  This means that along with all of the other things that go into creating a successful website, optimizing a site to work on a phone will be added to that list.  As for current sites, it will likely be necessary for them to be overhauled or tweaked in some manner to properly display in this new age of website viewing.

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