What will my job site look like on the iPad?

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 8:00am Tuesday 06 April 2010

The iPad has finally been released into the wild, and everyone is now scrambling over it to see what changes it will have on the way people view and experience web sites.

I have uploaded an iPad emulator script for you to see how your website will look in a landscape and portrait mode on the iPad. Click on the top border to rotate the iPad canvas from landscape to portrait mode. Please note that Flash is not yet available on the iPad, and you may be able to view Flash components in this script.

Before you go spend money building an iPad job search application or specific optimised website, consider the following...

The iPad will affect the way we design websites. There is no RIGHT way of viewing websites. That means you can view it either in landscape or in the portrait mode. But for the designer that means two completely different layouts for which to design. It is for this specific reason that the iPad highlights the need for smart fluid width design.

Macworld points out that one major difference between Safari on the iPad and the iPhone is which version of a web page, (desktop or mobile) you see when visiting a site. While the iPhone version of Safari is usually served the mobile version of a page - one with a tighter layout, fewer images, and other design differences that make the page easier to view on a tiny screen - Safari on the iPad usually gets the full-blown desktop version of the page.

In most cases, this is a good thing, as the iPad’s larger screen means you’ll want to see that full version. The exceptions would be sites where the mobile versions of pages are optimized for touch screens, or ones where the desktop version uses Flash for video while the mobile version uses H.264 or another non-Flash format; in those cases, you’d want to view the mobile version.

Assuming a Web server provides both mobile and desktop versions of its Web pages, which version you get depends on how the server is configured. When a Web browser contacts a Web server to request a page, the browser identifies itself to the server; based on that identification, the server sends (what the server administrator thinks is) the appropriate version of the requested page: a mobile-phone browser gets the mobile version, a Mac or Windows browser gets the desktop version. Most, but not all, dual-version sites serve mobile-optimized pages to the iPhone. (There are exceptions, however: some sites prefer to send desktop versions to iPhones, given that the iPhone handles desktop sites much better than the typical mobile phone.)

As with the iPhone, users will have the ability to add bookmark icons to the home screen of the iPad. These will offer direct links to specific web sites through Safari. You should consider adding a custom Apple bookmark icon to your website code. The browser also features a drop-down bookmarks menu that looks similar to the one on the iPhone.

The iPad (and iPhone) use the Apple Safari internet browser.