Showcase of Designs Optimized for iPhone

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Over the last couple of years, mobile devices have managed to gain mainstream popularity. With iPhone, making mobile Web applications finally usable by broad masses, web design can now be applied to mobile applications as well. In this post we are focusing on designs that are specifically optimized for mobile devices, in particular iPhone.

Though iPhone’s Safari browser is able to render any website just like you would see it on a desktop browser, the available screen area is much smaller than in common “classic” displays. This poses a new challenge for designers and developers who now can reach millions of users that use mobile Web. Websites that are specifically optimized for the iPhone utilize the screen to the fullest extent, and use less bandwidth (which is necessary, because the connectivity is not always optimal).

The iPhone browsing experience is quite different than the regular browsing experience. The buttons and hyperlinks have to be bigger because our fingers are not as sharp as the mouse pointer. Optimizing a website for iPhone is not rocket science. It’s the same HTML, CSS and JavaScript that you already know. The only major difference is the screen size.

In the showcase below we present some of the interesting, interactive and beautiful designs that are optimized for the iPhone. You will also learn about some handy tools that will help you optimize your website for the iPhone.

Also consider our previous articles:

1. News / Entertainment

Sevnth Sin4
The unique navigation makes this site very interactive. Nice concept, nice colors.

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Blip.tv6
Perfectly suits the theme: video entertainment! Clean and clear typography.

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NBC8
The YouTube-style design makes it very easy to navigate and find shows.

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Zinio10
That’s a kit of magazines, all one-touch away!

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Spin The Bottle13
A simple bottle spinning game. Good use of graphics.

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Daily Wallpaper15
Similar to Zinio, but 2 thumbnails in a row make it more easy to navigate around.

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AOL Horoscopes17
Very well designed for a horoscope site. Matching color scheme throughout.

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Yahoo Omg!20
Fresh look, vibrant colors and lively typography make this design fun to browse and easy to read. The design also matches the celebrity gossip theme.

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2. Business / Corporate

DPTO22
Different tones of red make this design look very attractive on the iPhone. The 3D menu looks very nice — perfect for a marketing and design agency.

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Mind Medium Creative24
The use of gradients make the overall site look very shiny on the iPhone. The menu is very to-the-point. A nice composition and execution.

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Redhawk Investment Advisors26
This design has a very corporate feel to it. Good use of colors.

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Nike Lab28
Just what to expect from Nike. Sporty and energetic design.

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Procab Studio30
Procab studio showcases their work portfolio and other information about the agency. Well placed content. The font size is a bit too small, though.

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Hotel Monterilla32
The design makes you want to go there for a vacation. The design has a very comforting feel to it. A perfect color scheme.

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Viget Labs34
A blue background, appropriate padding and rounded corners make this simple design look vibrant and attractive.

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Batali Associates37
This is one of the good examples of design optimization for the iPhone. It clearly looks like it was really made for the iPhone, not just duplicated.

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Ready For iPhone39
A company that provides iPhone optimized website solutions. The finger on the “Go” looks intuitive.

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Element Fusion41
Another showcase website that provides design services. Looks like a cut-down version of the actual website.

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Volkswagon43
A showcase gallery for Volkswagon. Easy to navigate around. Clean and clear content.

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3. Shopping / E-Commerce

Torn Robes45
A nice example of a mobile e-Commerce site. Just touch your favourite design, have a look at it and buy it. Looks very vibrant.

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Coosh47
A single-product e-Commerce site. Branded very well.

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Walmart49
This design doesn’t really meet the expectations from WalMart — however, the design is still in beta. The usability is good, though: it is very easy to search for products and stores. You can also create shopping lists.

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4. Portfolio / Blog

World Ending Blog (Japanese)52
Although we did not understand a word there, it is very well designed for the iPhone. Every page is optimized and provides a good browsing experience.

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Signal Element54
Simple and clean design: just 3 pages, but very well designed.

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One Crimson Splash56
This is the portfolio of James Finley. The choice of colors and content placement are very good.

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5. Education / Content

MIT58
What else to expect from MIT? Simple, clean, user-friendly.

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101 Cook Books60
Not really a fancy design, but it’s the simplicity and clarity of content that makes it appear in this showcase.

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Please Fix The iPhone62
A good design that provides the desktop browsing experience. It is very easy to find what you are looking for.

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188164
The Norwegian telephone directory online. The combination of bright blue, orange and white looks really good.

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AOL Food66
Heaven for those who love to cook. Just keep your iPhone with you in the kitchen, and let this nice design help you make a delicious dinner.

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Deviant Art69
A nice way to browse art on the iPhone. The color scheme is good, and it makes the artwork look prominent. Very easy to navigate and search. Also, appropriately sized thumbnails.

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Last but not least, some words of wisdom…

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Tools to design a website for iPhone

There are some libraries and kits available to help you iPhoneize your design.

  • iPhoney72
    iPhoney gives you a pixel-accurate web browsing environment—powered by Safari—that you can use when developing web sites for iPhone. It’s a perfect tool to see how your web creations will look on iPhone.
  • Test iPhone73
    A web browser based simulator for quickly testing your iPhone web designs.
  • iWebKit74 (Demo75)
    iWebKit is a file package designed to help you create your own iPhone and iPod Touch compatible website or webapp. Comes with various ready-to-use themes.
  • iUI76
    iUI is a framework consisting of a JavaScript library, CSS, and images for developing iPhone web designs. It makes your web designs look and feel like iPhone’s native applications.
  • Intersquash77 (Demo78)
    Not really a helpful tool for designing, but you can instantly create an iPhone compatible site from your RSS feed url.
  • WPtouch79
    For WordPress users: WPtouch transforms your WordPress blog into an iPhone application-style theme, complete with ajax loading articles and effects, when viewed from an iPhone or iPod touch.
  • Jaipho Gallery80 (Demo81)
    If your website features a photo gallery, Jaipho will optimize it for iPhone users.

Further Resources

Don’t stop here. Check out these other great tutorials and guidelines.

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Adeel Raza is a young entrepreneur with over 10 years of experience on the web. He specializes in user interface, user experience and beautiful design. He loves finding gems out of dirt and showcasing them on his gallery Inspire Mix. Follow him on Twitter to say hi!

  1. 1

    Great article… but only IPhone.

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  2. 2

    Awesome showcase, keep going.

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  3. 3

    Great article, but it’s VolkswagEn, not VolkswagOn.

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  4. 4

    Would be interested to see an article that combines Android and the iPhone.

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  5. 5

    Very nice !!! Thank you !!!

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  6. 6

    of course, you could just re-title this and name it “designs optimized for webkit mobile”, since this would work also in an Android phone.

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  7. 7

    I have found mobify.me to be a really clever and mostly straightforward web app for creating an iPhone (and other mobile device)-ready website. There’s a WordPress plugin and stuff. I can’t believe you didn’t mention it!

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  8. 8

    Some great iphone optimisations here. The Deviant Art one especially. For those running WordPress there are a few plugins that will optimise your site immediately for mobile devices, we have recently reviewed two on The Floating Frog website. The first, WPtouch, uses a one theme suits all approach and is easy to implement. The second is Wapple Architecture mobile, which optimising your current stylesheet to retain your brand but optimses your content for mobile devices. Optimisation for mobile devices is a shrude move as it can save you a lot of bandwidth while engaging your audience through an increasingly popular digital medium.

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  9. 9

    Greaaat article, I appreciated it.
    Another nice shopping web site i saw lately on my iphone is American Eagle

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  10. 10

    Great article! Has lots of useful resources and really great inspiration.
    Thanks

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  11. 11

    Another to consider. http://mobile.mellowmushroom.com/ on you iPhone. Has both basic mobile and iPhone versions detected.

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  12. 12

    This is a good list, but there are a ton more at http://www.cssiphone.com. Many of these might have come from there.

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  13. 13

    Yea, most of these came from http://cssiphone.com. Might want to cite it?

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  14. 14

    The VolkswagEn typo was my fault, if you go over to CSSiPhone.com you’ll see I began the typo over there. :)

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  15. 15

    HAHA Everything here came from the most popular iPhone Web Gallery on the net, CSSIphone.com. What a rip. Next time try citing your sources? Learned how to cite in 6th grade I believe.

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  16. 16

    great article. as rhys mentioned I’d be interested in combining web dev for android & iphone as well – and an comparison which other phones would be capable of displaying such a site.

    for our company’s thin client management software I used iui – went quite well, much better than xcode and it works on the android as well, even if the animation isn’t as smooth as on the iphone.

    demo of it on video if you want to watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oG7UclaYtl4

    cheers chris

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  17. 17

    2 more resources:

    http://www.jqtouch.com – A jQuery plugin for mobile web development on the iPhone,
    Android, Palm Pre, and other forward-thinking devices.

    http://phonegap.com – PhoneGap is an open source [web] development tool for building fast, easy mobile apps with JavaScript. Have support for iPhone.

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  18. 18

    This is a fantastic resource. Thank you for putting this together. Very useful for showing clients what the iPhone is capable of, and what other players in the industry are doing with it.

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  19. 19

    Hey thanks Josh for mentioning Mobify! For those looking for Android & BlackBerry compatibility and a consistent workflow, check out what our users did at http://mobify.me/gallery/

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  20. 20

    nice article,

    i should learn how to design for iphone soon :P
    thanks

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  21. 21

    Another really good mobile site is Toyota’s Prius site.

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  22. 22

    eHow.com has a pretty sweet iPhone experience too.

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  23. 23

    This is great, as I should improve my blog to fit the eyeFaun-format. :’3

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  24. 24

    design for vertical spaces is back

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  25. 25

    Another incredible article on SmashMag where they neglect to (a) make sure their authors aren’t ripping content from another site (b) at least credit the source and cite the material they’re using.

    I checked out the typo scenario, its the same typo here and on cssiphone.com.

    If CSSIPHONE stays updated, sure these guys will have more to pull from, haha. ROAR!

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  26. 26

    Great article. The resources are quite useful: i just tried WPtouch, it works like a charm and my blog is now iPhone compatible :) Thanks for the good read!

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  27. 27

    Awesome

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  28. 28

    I agree with many of the previous comments. Articles similar to these show be called “Showcase of Designs Optimized for Mobile Phones”… not specifically “iPhone”… As a Mobile Analyst, the Android will carry more market share over the next 3-5 years, as more devices and more carriers support the open platform.

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  29. 29

    great resources!!

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  30. 30

    nice stuff! always to the right time :)

    by the way: the “iPhone Reference Library” links point’s to http://www.marketcircle.com/iphoney

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  31. 31

    the emirates mobile website is really good!

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  32. 32

    Most of them look ..errr… Not so good? They look really confusing.

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  33. 33

    Looked at a few on my G1 (android / webkit) and they seem to work great. I think the biggest mistake companies make today is advertising their site as an “iphone” optimized site. What the world really needs is a MOBILE optimized site since not everyone carries around the same darn phone.

    Did we not learn our lessons from building sites and only testing in IE? Cmon guys!

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  34. 34

    Can I submit my website http://www.projeturbain.com/iphone/ :-)

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  35. 35

    Redstage Magento

    October 1, 2009 9:58 am

    Impressive! Thanks for this information.

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  36. 36

    Great article! I am inspired and on my way to creating an iPhone version of my website.

    I had one question… I added this post to my Twitter page, and I noticed that you had a “tiny url” included. Does this link generate automatically when the article is written? I want to have a “tiny url” automatically added to the page whenever I write an article in my blog. When someone adds one of my articles to their Twitter page, the “tiny url” is included. Thanks!

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  37. 37

    Even better, here is a directory of mobile sites that is actually designed for the iPhone

    http://dashland.com

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  38. 38

    Hi!

    Great post – some stunning iPhone sites there (whichever site they came from).

    Another tool helping you design great iPhone sites for WordPress is the Wapple Architect Mobile Plugin (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wapple-architect/)

    You can already produce stunning sites for an iPhone with this plugin, but I’m adding another option so you can have device specific CSS. If you want your iPhone site to look even better than other handsets you’ll be able to shortly!

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  39. 39

    What about the Rightmove.co.uk iPhone application? http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-to-you/iphone-application

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  40. 40

    ha!

    Check http://www.parrottandmiller.com iPhone site,

    It should certainly be in the league of best iPhone sites.

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  41. 41

    Guys, I love that. I wish Pixmac is so big we can do the same for our photo site. This really matters. And I’ll have that in my mind till the time comes…

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  42. 42

    really cool resources.

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  43. 43

    Cool…. Is ther any IDE that’s support mobile css auto complete. Can’t wait to test my site.

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  44. 44

    Check http://www.anamo.eu/m/pod/ iPhone site,

    It should certainly be in the league of best iPhone E-Commerce sites.

    + It has an HTML5 iPhone App called Everydayburner that is a great example of how to enable Javascript(jQuery) on an Offline(AppCache) App.

    Enjoy!

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  45. 45

    Very helpful stuff guys. Thanks!

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  46. 46

    Great article. The resources are quite useful: i just tried WPtouch, it works like a charm and my blog is now iPhone compatible

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  47. 47

    I like this site, really simple and clear interactive mood diary

    http://www.moodpanda.com

    They’ve done a pretty good job optimizing the site for iphone

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  48. 48

    I personally thought the Nike Labs one was crisp, professional and very well done. We just redesigned our site at Cutcaster and tried to go for the same look of professionalism.

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