Do you need an iPad website?

iPad 2

Apple’s Shiny New Toy

With Apple’s announcement yesterday about the newest model in it’s incredibly popular line of tablets, the internet is abuzz with talk about the iPad 2.

Tablets have really taken off in the last few years since the launch of the original iPad. Adding to that the incredible proliferation of smartphones with full web browsing capabilities, it seems everyone has a computer on their person at almost all times.

Designing For Mobile Users

So, do you need an “iPad website”? More and more people are accessing the internet and it’s various sites on mobile devices like iPhones and iPads. These devices, while capable, certainly have their own set of limitations. Smaller screens, specific resolutions, the fact that you are using your fingers to click, instead of a mouse cursor.

Even with these added considerations, it’s possible that you don’t need a new iPad website. Maybe you just need a site that plays well with traditional desktop browsers AND with these mobile devices.

Web design blog A List Apart posted an article a while back about Responsive Web Design, and with this hullabaloo about the iPad 2 I was inspired to go back through it.

Essentially the article says that instead of creating separate, distinct sites for each device (which is getting more difficult anyways as more and more options come to market), instead we can use web programming techniques to change our layouts dramatically as the screen size changes. Without getting into the details, this allows us to have ONE site that changes itself to display correctly on whichever device you view it on, whether it’s an older-generation iPhone or a widescreen HDTV.

The Answer

With this in mind, do you need an “iPad website”? The answer is, probably not. Unless you have vast differences between what content you want to show someone on an iPhone and what content you want to show someone on a PC, a website that responds to the users needs and chosen device is easier, more flexible, and more future-proof.

What do you think? Is “Responsive Web Design” the best way to deal with smartphone and tablet users? Or should we create separate solutions for them instead? Is there another option besides these two? Let me know in the comments!

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About Karyl Gilbertson

Karyl is New Harvest Media's Creative Director. He is passionate about design, and pretty stoked about things like web standards, usability, and Wordpress too.