The iPhone’s Safari browser provides one of the best ways to use the internet on a mobile phone, and some companies have responded to the device’s growing popularity by adapting their own websites to work on its 480 x 320 touch screen.
While many standard versions of websites can be viewed effectively on the iPhone, plenty of scrolling and zooming in and out is still required, and this can be frustrating on some sites. I’ve been taking a look at some of the best sites I’ve found that have been optimised for the iPhone…
Google has done a decent job of adapting its websites to the iPhone; both Google News and Google.com work well on mobile, and it has done well optimising its feed reader:
Google Reader is a fairly complex site and has been simplified well for mobile users, while retaining most of the functionality of the standard website version. Feeds are easy to scroll up and down, and articles can be read on screen, as long as a full text RSS feed has been provided.
Facebook has offered up a very usable version of its website for people to keep up with their Facebook chums wherever they are. The navigation options at the top of the page give you access to the major areas of the site; your inbox, events, wall, as well as friends’ profiles and photos. It carries most of the standard Facebook site onto mobile, though it lacks apps, as well as the ability to join groups.
There is an iPhone app for Digg as well, but this site works well on the Safari browser, and provides most of the website’s functionality. You can login, Digg or bury articles, and see the top five comments on each story.
You can scroll through topics as well, though the sub-categories could have been spaced out better to avoid clicking on the wrong option. Still, it works well for keeping up with the site on the move, though if you want to get more involved and submit articles, you need the standard version.
Amazon’s standard website has a lot of information and features, but it has been simplified effectively for the smaller screen, and provides an excellent way to buy via mobile. Shoppers can still see detailed product information, read reviews, and go through a simple checkout process.
This version lacks some of the sophistication of the website; search results can’t be filtered and sorted for instance, but it still provides on of the best mobile shopping experiences.
There is a dedicated iPhone app for eBay users, as is the case for Digg, but this version also works well on the phone’s Safari browser and is useful for shopping and keeping up with items you are selling on the auction site.
Like the Amazon mobile site, it lists a large range of products, and the lack of filtering options during searches makes it harder to browse and shop. Still, it’s not an easy task to convert such complex sites to the iPhone and eBay, like Amazon, has done a decent job.
These are just a few of the better mobile sites I have come across so far. If anyone has suggestions for other sites that have been well designed for the iPhone, or mobiles in general, let me know below…