Designing for WAP v/s iPhone (web app)

16 Oct 2009 - 7:06am
4 years ago
2 replies
1908 reads
Vishal Subraman...
2005

I'm designing a content website for the iPhone and was asked to investigate
on how the design should translate to the WAP (i.e other internet enabled
devices) version. I've lately seen a trend (not entirely sure though, my
first reaction was WAP is still around?) where the WAP version is pretty
much a downgraded iPhone experience- stripping off the iPhone specific
elements. Does this path work or does the WAP version need a completely
different set of considerations?

--
-Vishal
http://www.vishaliyer.com

Comments

16 Oct 2009 - 2:13pm
Barbara Ballard
2005

On Fri, Oct 16, 2009 at 7:06 AM, Vishal Iyer <vishaliyer1 at gmail.com> wrote:
> I'm designing a content website for the iPhone and was asked to investigate
> on how the design should translate to the WAP (i.e other internet enabled
> devices) version. I've lately seen a trend (not entirely sure though, my
> first reaction was WAP is still around?) where the WAP version is pretty
> much a downgraded iPhone experience- stripping off the iPhone specific
> elements. Does this path work or does the WAP version need a completely
> different set of considerations?

First, you'll want to verify whether they are really wanting a "WAP"
site, or if they actually want an "HTTP" site. That's a pretty snarky
question, so instead ask them whether they mean WML, the markup
language associated with WAP, or XHTML Basic/Mobile Profile. This
question is a bit better because 98% of mobile phones are using XHTML
these days ... but in some markets WML is still important.

Use XHTML Basic unless you really need to go WML. I've not designed a
WML page for 7 years, so you probably won't need to either. There are
exceptions.

Next you need to decide your strategy. How are you going to decide
which device goes where? How many versions are you going to make? Are
you going to make separate versions for devices with touch screens
(finger friendly), or layer on a touch.css? Or make scroll-and-select
users lose half their screen real estate?

How are you going to handle screen sizes? 128x128 is not the same as
320x480, nor as 800x600.

Oh, and are you going to allow Palm Pre and Android users to your
iPhone site? What about Symbian? They all have WebKit, though
different versions. Actually, add-on browsers Iris and Bolt are Webkit
too. Some don't have touch screens.

You can go with a least-common-denominator design, though even that
won't be LCD. Follow mobileOK best practices. Or decide to ignore
very-low-end phones (but careful! Windows Mobile 6 and earlier has a
truly terrible browser, as do most Blackberries), and have a mid-range
phone. Then you need to decide how to communicate support to end
users.

In addition to the mobile design wiki up at http://design4mobile.mobi,
also check out http://mobiforge.com/designing

~~~~~
Barbara Ballard
Skype: barbara_ballard
Twitter, Delicious: barbaraballard
email: barbara at littlespringsdesign.com
1.785.838.3003

18 Oct 2009 - 6:29pm
Anonymous

Hi Vishal-

Besides Barabara's good references and advice-
Another potential impact I would consider is the overall information
architecture mapping.

If it was a native iPhone app that you are translating for mobile web
(xHTML or WML) you might also consider setting up your key
views/landing points and indices different to the original iPhone
app. Again this might be generic advice, so if you could share the
nature of the iPhone app, might be easier to be more specific in
terms of mapping IA.

iPhone scrolling is conducive to large amounts of content- WML is
more akin to good old hypercard where you tend to have a stack and
then jump off points.

Also do you know much about the target user's dataplans- if they are
on pay as you go- you would need to be quite economical in the way you
cache and reload/re-use data.

A good guidance in terms of books etc which I have used in the past
are:
1. Mobile Web Development- Nirav Mehta | My rating *****
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mobile-Web-Development-Nirav-Mehta/dp/1847193439

2. Building Mobile Web Sites:
Design Patterns, Recipes & Ideas: Richard Yates | My rating ***

Cheers
Priya

-- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Priya Prakash
Creative Director, User Experience
Nokia User Experience
Phone: 44 781 851 5889
E-mail: priya.prakash at nokia.com
NOKIA
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