How do you make compatible web content for iOS devices? Well, it’s not always an easy process. Web content can indeed be compatible with Safari on your desktop as well as on iOS, but it takes a little bit of work, and some care. If you are planning to target iOS, then the first step would be to get the desktop version working first, and then move on to mobile optimization.
The first thing you need to do is pay close attention to your content layout as well as what execution limits are tied to the iOS version of your content. By utilizing conditional CSS, which is recommended when optimizing web content, you can ensure that your content will display properly on iOS. When designing your webpage, keep in mind that mobile Safari is presented on iOS differently to the user than in a desktop version of Safari. Incorporating gestures that include double-tap, pan or zoom, can also help make your web pages and and web applications mobile-compliant.
Here are some additional points that may help to make your site compatible with iOS:
• Adhere to Web Standards – This is the first design rule because if your web development is standards based, then this will help ensure consistent presentation and functionality. Both presentation and functionality need to be steady across all modern browsers, not just Safari. If the web site is well designed, there will be less refinements that need to be made in order to make it compatible with iOS.
• Utilize the Webkit Engine – the Webkit Engine is shared by Safari on the desktop and with iOS and supports all the latest web standards including AJAX Technologies, CSS3, DOM Level 2, ECMAScript 3 (Java), HTML5 and XHTML1.1.
• Stay on Top of Evolving Standards – both WebKit and Safari both are evolving as well so saying in touch with the evolving standards at the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG) or the World Wide Consortium (W3C) standards can help tremendously. Both sites are a good place to start.
• Review Safari Reference Documents – these include and Safari CSS Reference and Safari HTML Reference for specific platform availability.
• Employ Web-Design Practices – this is a must because if you follow the established rules of good web design, you’ll have less tweaking to do to when it comes time for mobile optimization.
• For your HTML files, add a DOCTYPE – Your HTML files should be prefaced with a DOCTYPE declaration. This action will help tell the browser about specifications for your webpage to be parsed against.
• Use a Validator – Validation can increase cross-platform compatibility, including fixing problems such as incorrect case, incorrect nesting, missing quotes and close tags.
• Remain Browser Independent – don’t use a “user agent string” on checking browsers.
If you take care and follow some of these best practices, you should find that optimizing your site for iOS and iOS-based web applications will be much easier. Additionally, if you have web app deployed, you may want to think about having some type of web application monitoring solution in place so that you know if your site goes down. Companies like Pingdom, CopperEgg, Dotcom-Monitor, New Relic and DotcomTools all provide good solutions for that.
No matter what you do, just make sure that you check that your web apps are compatible with iOS devices, or you may be unintentionally frustrating users and causing your support team trouble that could easily be avoided!