I’d like to quote something and highlight a point which I’ve advocated for a while.
Most World Wide Web content has been optimized for a workstation-style experience. A lot of this was due to pixel-perfect CSS designers. Many websites make alternate .mob sites to compensate. I think we’ll eventually agree that a WWW browser may work for the Web, but that Internet applications provide wider capability, a more sensitive design.
The above statement is true; most sites are primarilly targetted and built for PC’s and Macs; those who truely consider alternative devices (mobiles, games consoles and now the iPad) tend to deliver an alternate interface.
I think what we should be aiming towards are web sites, applications and services which are more sophisticated and can deliver content for different platforms in the most relevant way possible.
I tried to view it on the PS3 not so long ago, and while the forum was usable it was less than ideal.
What would be nice is if they delivered two totally different versions of the site (the same content and functionality) but one which is highly optimized for the desktop user and one which is optimized for other devices such as smartphones.
Using a more elaborate example, lets say we’re building a web application that streams media on demand, say an online TV station, a fully fledged one; which I think we will start to see a lot of soon (and I mean more than the BBC IPlayer).
It makes sense to use Flash and Flash Media Server for this; there are a number of reasons why. For one the DRM solutions are powerful, the streaming mechanisms are good, you have full HD support and the interface can be a bit more geared in.
Now, the iPad or iPhone wouldn’t be much use, so it would make sense to have an alternate streaming mechanism for these devices (which supported their screens better, which supported the bandwidth better and which delivered in a format thats optimized for these devices).
This approach will make our industry and thus our careers more involved and more complex and will increase our overheads and in turn push prices for certain applications but I think thats just part & parcel of what is essentially the medium evolving and maturing.
I like the fact that you can use jQuery as an alternative for interactive interfaces and think HTML 5 looks promising, buts its not a holy grail as far as highly interactive content is concerened.
Flash has its benefits in this space and I think we’ll not see Flash die, but instead see it become more of a dedicated solution which has specific uses.
- Prerecorded Broadcast content
- Live Broadcast content
- Live Communities (chat, webcams etc.)
- Certain social media
I also don’t think we should be using Apple as a benchmark; while their products are cool and popular they do tend to be all style and lack substance and user freedom. I think we should be seeing the internet and its full scope as the benchmark and each platform which accesses it as just that, a platform on which to deliver content to.
How you deliver that content should be dynamic; tailored for that device specifically. If technology A doesnt work with platform B then deliver to platform B with another technology which suits, dont cut platform A’s experience to suit B’s.
Another thing (posts getting long now, so this is it)…
A good developer (or studio) will investigate and use as many technologies as possible; to get the best end product out there. If a certain platform has strengths then utilise those strengths, if there are problems then find solutions to those problems.
i.e. the old flash and SEO/Accessibility debate, the good developers sought out and implemented very effective solutions to those problems, those are the traits of a good developer. But also a good developer won’t use irrelevant technologies but the best tech for the job.