Are Customised iPhone Sites Necessary?

Westpac recently started promoting the ability to access its online banking applications via the iPhone. However, as both Westpac's site and a story at AustralianIT by Andrew Colley point out, this isn't a full-blown iPhone application, but a standard mobile app which can work within the iPhone's Safari browser. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Despite the hype, iPhones aren't yet anything like the dominant mobile device on the market, so building a site that works on multiple devices makes sense. It also helps reduce download volumes, an area where iPhone owners can be a bit lax. Do you think more iPhone-specific sites need to be built, or has Westpac taken the right approach? Share your thoughts in the comments.


Comments

    So, let me get this straight... people are apparently sick of 'mobile internet' where you have to have sites made to look good on a mobile. So, they by the iPhone, which has (quote) "not a kinda, sorta internet... just the internet!" so they can use the REAL internet... then it turns out that it needs special pages too?

    Gasp, don't tell me Apple lied to us? Impossible!!

    Web developers should be targetting multiple platforms as there are, and have been for a while, many more mobile clients capable of accessing the web than the iPhone. However, Westpac have the right approach in latching onto the iPhone in order to promote its new website, it is after all the mobile device of the moment. Hopefully this will spur other sites to take mobile versions more seriously and allow for the platform (whether Windows Mobile, Android, Symbian, iPhone etc) to really take off.

    The Westpac site still has rendering issues in Firefox... wish they would fix that before attempting to "claim" iPhone support! The interface is very difficult to use in iPhone. In fact, just logging in with their onscreen virtual keyboard is next to impossible! Saying that this is an "iphone" interface as there marketing department has declared is like saying saying that your newspaper doubles as toilet paper - it probably works, but you'll end up with a sore ass... Strangely I ended up feeling same why after trying to use Westpac's interface on my iPhone!

    Agree with ajcooper - mobile sites should be designed and optimised for all potential users of the site. This includes creating an iphone specific version as well as a windows mobile, symbian, whatever, including a lot of the older phones with very basic internet support. It's an accessibility issue - why stop people coming to your site? Design one that will work for them whatever device they are trying to view your site with.

    ANZ now offers an iPhone version of their internet banking and I really appreciate how it is properly formatted for the iPhone screen dimensions, as well as very much 'feeling' like an iPhone app, employing the 'swish' effect to move from one screen to another, and popping up the roladex widget when selecting from drop downs.

    Bennish, never fear, full size websites still work (mostly) fine on the mobile version of Safari and IMHO work and display better than any other phone browser by a mile.

    +1 for the ANZ web app ... obviously a lot of thought has gone into it and the end result is a very smart looking and easy to use app. It very much sounds like westpac has taken the easy/cheap way out and looking for cheap but undeserved publicity.

    Properly done iPhone sites are gorgeous on the iPhone but look sick when viewed from a PC or other platforms.

    I like them as they make me feel especially welcome like the special treatment I get at my bank.

    That is just common business sense in smoothing things over for your preferred customers.

    Personally, I quite like all the "iPhone-compatible" website development we're seeing (websites, not applications).

    It drives innovation, and spurs other website designers/developers to ensure their websites also work on this platform.

    I don't own an iPhone, but "iPhone-compatible" websites that I view on my Nokia N95 or some of the newer Windows Mobiles display perfectly! Keep it coming!

    Interesting and reassuring to hear the comments regarding the decent ANZ application on the iphone.

    As someone who travels a lot I will readily consider switching banks for this reason.

    Great... excellent.
    Now if only ANZ would spend some time on security and offer genuine two factor authentication for logging in... THAT would be something.

    The "iphone special" page thing is hit and miss. Some pages feel better in native format, some are horrible to navigate. Esp since there is no FLASH on the iPhone... which brings us back to Apple and thier half truth lies "the full internet" Maybe not steve...

    Working at Mippin, a service that provides a customised internet experience for any mobile device, whatever the screen size, we've discovered that it makes much more sense to ensure anyone can access the service, rather than target individual handsets. The internet on mobile devices is still growing after all and it takes much longer to develop specific detail for certain devices than take a broader, all inclusive approach. http://mippin.com

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