Auto Sites on the iPad

Nice article detailing how different car companies handle the iPad, specifically talking about Cadillac last.

With my new Apple Tablet in hand, I visited a number of auto sites to see which – if any – delivered content that looked and functioned well on iPad.

Did any of these sites support the latest web standards, including HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript? Did any provide an experience optimized for the iPad?  Here’s what they did.

Give users the Standard Experience

Most of the sites provided the standard web experience, unchanged for the iPad. The majority of these sites utilized CSS and Javascript, providing a seamless web experience. The only areas where the iPad experience was less than optimal was in viewing videos and interactive content created in Flash.

Audi

Honda

Toyota

As expected, sites that relied heavily on Flash-based displayed an error message or prompt to download the Flash plugin, which meant a dead end for iPad users.

Nissan

VW

Ironically, these sites have robust mobile content that would have been much more useful, had they redirected users appropriately.

Take users to the Mobile Site

The sites that might have had some forethought about the advent of the iPad directed users to the mobile versions of their sites. Unfortunately, the mobile versions of some of these sites were significantly limited in content and functionality.

Mercedes-Benz

Mazda

Both BMW and Lexus provide a rich mobile web experience on the iPhone, which they also provide on the iPad.

BMW

Lexus

Lexus in particular provided a wealth of content and photos displayed beautifully in Mobile Safari, even supporting the ability to swipe to navigate.

The iPad Approach

Cadillac

Cadillac was the only auto site to provide content specifically for iPad users. Unfortunately it was in the form of a one page message stating that an iPad version of their site is on its way. Never mind that in the meantime users could benefit from the mobile content available to iPhone users. Furthermore, the lifestyle app they touted right before the iPad launch and is available on the App Store was absent on the page.

The Future

This is not to say that all of the automotive sites should have been prepared for the iPad’s arrival. Given the tentative state of the industry and its effect on agency budgets, it makes sense to have a wait-and-see attitude to get a better sense of what this brand new device means in the overall scheme of things, then adjust accordingly.

The audience is also an important factor: the person who buys an iPad may not be the same person who buys a Ford or a Hyundai (or maybe just not the most expensive one).  The cachet of the iPad suggests a more luxury-minded buyer, which could explain why some luxury manufacturers have taken steps to make their content available.

Time will tell how the growth of the iPad will affect the steps auto manufacturers take to provide content for these users. It will be interesting to see in the next few months which ones update their standard site, create iPad-optimized or mobile sites, or create device-specific apps in the effort to provide rich, compelling interactive content for their customers.

Visit my set on Flickr to see all of the screenshots.

via (onomatronic)

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