Today, I noticed that A List Apart ran another article on how to get Web sites up to speed on the Apple’s iPhone.
First, a few points. As a Web developer, I’ve relied and will continue to rely on the strength of ALA’s articles time and time again. Also, I’ve written for ALA twice before and, as always, would love to write from them again. And I’m a fan of Apple products as much as the next Web designer out there, but the exposure of the iPhone is a little too much.
Yes, surfing on an iPhone is a rewarding surfing experience than say, I don’t know, every other cell phone on the planet. I’ve even mentioned before that iPhone’s browsing capabilities will completely eliminate the need to provide a separate “mobile” Web site.
Rather than promoting the new hotness, though, we need to have more information about creating rich, yet salient surfing experiences for other devices besides the iPhone.
If only ten percent of these 37 million people with disabilities surf the Web on an assistive technology, their numbers are 300% greater than every iPhone sold.
Looking at those numbers, focusing on iPhone Web site optimization seems like an imbalance in priorities. This is perceived overkill especially when you know the dirty little secret about optimizing a Web site for an iPhone: If a Web site is built on Web standards like XHTML+CSS, your Web site will be viewed on the iPhone without too much worry.
The point is that I believe that there are more important issues at hand for making sure our Web sites can be seen by an Internet-enabled device other than a Web browser rather than forcing every other electronic doodad to have a Web browser on it.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think you can over-sell the importance of Web standards, but reselling them is another thing altogether. If your Web site is geared to run on assistive technologies like screen readers, hand wands, eye tracking, voice recognition, or braille displays, the odds are that you’ve opened your site up to more of an audience than the iPhone crowd.
There’s no reason we can’t have both a great surfing experience on an iPhone as well as one on assistive technologies. I’m just asking for more balance.