Monthly Archives: February 2011

Apple’s doing good things for the Web

I bought an iPad a few months ago, and have been thoroughly enjoying it ever since.

Personally, I feel like Apple’s doing a good thing for the Web – maybe even several good things – with their iProducts. I don’t know if they’re doing it on purpose (I doubt it) but the iPad and iPhone are changing the needs of everyday web users in ways developers can’t ignore. Some examples:

No Flash

Lots of developers like to argue over whether or not Flash content is appropriate on web sites. I am of the opinion that it is not; it is less accessible, it is usually search engine un-friendly, not all browsers support it, and it’s not open nor free. I don’t like Flash at all, and apparently neither does Steve Jobs.

While I find this irritating as an end user, as a web developer I think this is awesome. All of a sudden, a business who puts a "You need to install the latest version of Flash Viewer" message on their web site is no longer just inconveniencing customers who don’t have the Flash player, but is effectively backing out and away from one of the wealthiest, trendiest, "coolest" demographics – iPeople – telling them that "This web site isn’t interested in your business; go somewhere else".

Voice Over

It’s hard to get people to care about web accessibility – especially people who don’t need it. Just ask Donna Jodhan who has been in legal disputes with the Federal government over web accessibility since 2007.

My iPad has made demoing accessibility to sighted people easier with the Voice Over screen reader. It’s easy to use; it comes out of the box with the iPad and (since it’s an Apple thing) people automatically think it’s kind of cool. Put these together and it’s a great tool for explaining to people what it means for a web site to be accessibility to people with disabilities, and an equally valuable tool in demonstrating to a client that their site is accessible (or not).

A Limit of 9 Tabs

Again, as an end user I hate Apple for doing this, but as a web developer I LOVE IT.

There is now an excellent argument for never, EVER using pop ups; an iProduct can only have something like 9 separate pages open at a time. If more than 9 tabs/pages open, then it just starts to close some of them.

This happens to me all the time at Concordia’s Portal Page myconcordia, which – in conjunction with Concordia’s moodle pages – opens pop ups to no end. I effectively can’t be perusing any other sites which I’m on myconcordia, as those other sites are inevitably closed as it opens more and more popups.