It is the age of digital information. Browsing the web with your smartphone doesn’t have to be a painful experience. While it’s true that the majority of sites these days don’t display well on the small screens that smartphone users must contend with, a growing number of sites do.
And most of them recognize automatically that you’re trying to access them with a smartphone and switch to the small screen-friendly version automatically. Which ones should you keep on your smartphone’s bookmark list?.
Access the mega auction site with your smartphone, and you’ll find a stripped-down, barebones listing of eBay’s major attractions. You’ll be able to log in, create an account, browse by category, and search for products. Creating listings is something you’ll still want to do from your desktop computer, but almost everything else is doable from your phone.
If you’ve become addicted to Facebook from your desktop or notebook computer, you’ll be happy to know that Facebook the smartphone-friendly version of Facebook not only appears automatically when you log on via your phone’s browser.
It’s also surprisingly friendly and full-featured. In a handy listing, you’ll get friend requests on top, followed by news and wall postings. Your profile, friends, and messages are all accessible via a handy menu along the top left-hand part of the screen.
Scroll down, and you’ll even find links for your photos and stories. Facebook is one of those sites for which a separate app exists for popular smartphones, including BlackBerry and iPhone. You’ll find download links, if appropriate, at the bottom of the smartphone version of the site.
Expedia and others
Smartphones are made for travelling, so it only makes sense that a mega-travel site such as Expedia, where you can book and track flights, should be super easy to use on a smartphone. And it is.
You can use the site’s smartphone-enabled web site to book flights, hotels, rental cars, and track your existing reservations with ease. But Expedia isn’t alone among travel sites in being smartphone-friendly.
Orbitz and others automatically recognize when you log on via smartphone and give you an easy-to-read and easy-to-use menu of choices. Check your favourite travel site from your smartphone, and bookmark it if it’s ready to go.
If you’re just looking for flight status information, though, regardless of the site or agency through which you booked your flight, you’ll want to make a place for Flight Stats (http://mobile.flightstats.com) on your smartphone.
This legible site lets you search for the latest delay, departure, and arrival time for any flight. Don’t leave home without it.
Wikipedia isn’t too much fun to read by using your smartphone’s browser, but the gargantuan repository of information does now have apps for several smartphones.
If you’re a Wikipedia addict, check to see whether there’s an app available for your smartphone. However, even if there’s not, you’ll want to bookmark Wapedia (http://wapedia.mobi), which presents snapshots of the information available on Wikipedia in a format that’s perfectly legible on tiny screens.
At Wapedia, which is available in several languages, you’ll be greeted simply by a Spartan search screen, along with links to indexes, categories, and a random search. Type a search term, press Search, and you’ll be whisked off directly to the information you want.
The world’s biggest retailer will let you shop until you drop on the world’s smallest screen – namely, that of your smartphone.
Log on to Amazon from your phone, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to spend your money while waiting in line with phone in hand. You can search for products right away, check out the latest deals, manage items in your cart, or, if available, download an app for the smartphone you’re using.
The smartphone-enabled site is good enough, though, so you may not care for a separate app.
Apps for the rest
Keep in mind that many popular websites, while not designed for smartphones, nevertheless have released accompanying apps that help you to display the site readably on your phone.
The popular photo-sharing site Flickr is a prime example. So if you find that your favourite site on the desktop displays horribly on your phone, check your phone’s app store or the web itself to see whether a downloadable app is available.
An app can not only show you otherwise unreadable content in a comfortable format on your smartphone. It might even let you see the site in a new way and discover features that you didn’t know existed.