The best part about this experience was that I discovered it randomly. I was at a VERY crowded bar on Sunday trying to watch the Jets game and looking for one nearby that might have a TV.
I remembered a cool bar/cafe/lounge called Linger introduced to me by Jonathan Wegener as a venue for one of the the South Brooklyn “Breakfast” Club Meetup . My big question was whether or not Linger had a TV. I didn’t think I remembered one but thought I would check just in case. I quickly googled Linger Cafe and clicked on their homepage http://lingercafelounge.com/.
Here’s where it got interesting. The site detected that I was on an iPhone and redirected me to http://mobilemeteor.com/window.php?Business_ID=285&Redirect=http%3A//www.lingercafelounge.com/. Clicking on that link in a regular browser won’t look unique, but check out how it looked on the iPhone:
At first I was a bit confused, by the arrow symbol above Gallery and tried to click it, but then I realized that it meant for me to rotate the phone 180 degrees to the right (clockwise). I did and this is what I saw:
Just by rotating, I was immediately shown the photo gallery which was easy to scroll through with a side swipe gesture. (To my chagrin I saw no TV..)
I then rotated back to center and 180 degrees to the left (counter clockwise) and saw this:
An immediate and clear/nicely formatted view of the menu.
It was quite cool/interesting to see a site (not to mention a small local restaurant courtesy of a mobile services firm) leveraging the unique capabilities of a smartphone and smartphone browser.
You can see more about Mobile Meteor, the firm that created this approach here: http://mobilemeteor.com/mobilize.php. They seem to have some other interesting features that they implement as well.
I only see two downsides to this approach. One is that if you start your web browsing experience horizontally, you’ll be thrown either into the gallery or menu view without understanding how you got there. The second is that with innovative UIs like this is the likelihood of inconsistencies between sites. Other sites may use those arrows as icons to click on. The unique capabilities of smartphones mean that a standard understanding of UI like on the regular web will take some time. In the meantime, I look forward to seeing more cool experiments like this.