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3/12/2009 – iPhone App Of The Week : iPhone Optimized Sites (OK, they are not really Apps)
When most folks think of iPhone Apps they tend to strictly think of applications developed for the iPhone. The upside to many Apps is that they can operate without being connected to the internet either via wifi or mobile phone data, however many airline iPhone Apps require being online…which is why adding icons to mobile airline sites is a good alternative if your airline has no dedicated iPhone App.
Quite a few airlines have created mobile websites, from Singapore Airlines to Kenya Airways, however some airlines have created ‘iPhone Optimized Sites.” While these ‘iPhone Optimized Sites’ may not be Apps, they can easily be added to an iPhones Home Screen with the creation of an icon.
Of the more than 25 airline mobile websites I have tested on my iPhone, presently only four stand-out and have made their way onto my semi-permanent ‘Page 2’ iPhone home screen. Surprisingly all four of these airlines are US airlines. I would have expected more geographic diversity, with more than 20 of the mobile websites I have tested coming from airlines outside of the United States.
So…if I had to pick my iPhone Apps of the Week, that aren’t really iPhone Apps of the Week, they would be American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue and Southwest Airlines. All four airlines have remarkably functional, powerful…yet very simple, mobile websites that are optimized for use on the iPhone. Each of these sites automatically detects they are being accessed from an iPhone or Mobile Phone and launches the appropriate page. This simple auto-detect feature makes a significant difference in the user experience in the field.
Each of these sites is straightforward with features that make its use via a mobile phone simple, quick and effective. You fly with American, Delta, JetBlue or Southwest then this week’s iPhone App of the Week is for you!
Below are five screen shots of these iPhone optimized mobile phone airline websites, as well as four screen shots detailing how to create a main-screen icon for mobile-sites on your iPhone.
I am presently testing news and recently updated airline iPhone and mobile phone optimized sites…as you can see in my demo of how to create a main-screen icon.