I've been so focused on iPhone (and compatible sites) over the last year, that I have almost no idea what people are doing to support other devices. Maybe the best practice is (essentially) to make it look good on the iPhone. Most of the other devices are using Mobile Safari and are pretty close to the iPhone in capabilities. Those that aren't are moving quickly to catch up. WebKit is pretty much standards-based and when you look at actual mobile web usage statistics all the other phones don't add up to much.
She asked about a specific client that has an existing site that currently uses Flash navigation and has a limited budget. The client wants improved mobile support. Without knowing any details on the implementation of the site, the clients needs or budget, I'd guess there are four possibilities:
- Remove the Flash navigation and replace with HTML and CSS navigation that is as modern as possible given the structure and complexity of the existing site and the customers budget. Use the iPhone viewport tag and other techniques to make the site iPhone-compatible.
- Create an alternative mobile site using XHTML that can be viewed by iPhones and other mobile devices, even older ones with limited web browsers. Redirect mobile users to the mobile site (giving them an option to return to the main site, of course)
- Redirect users to an iPhone-optimized site using iUI or another of the iPhone-centric mobile libraries.
- Create an XHTML and an iPhone-centric site (In other words #2 and #3) (Optionally remove the Flash navigation on the desktop site, as well.)
I would recommend #1 or #3 depending upon the budget. But I'm an iPhone bigot (or at least Mobile WebKit bigot.) Ultimately, it's a matter of return on investment. For a relatively small site, why make the huge investment of supporting all the older phones with small screens and lousy browsers that no one uses anyway?
Whichever strategy is chosen, testing needs to be performed starting with the most popular devices and extending as far down the "long tail" as the testing budget and ROI calculations can justify.
Am I too much of an Apple fan boy? Does anyone else have some pragmatic alternative best practices?