Galleries and Slide Shows for iPhone and iPad

Many designers believe that the iPad is the ultimate portable portfolio. Many desktop websites feature galleries and slide shows. Unfortunately, many of these implementations rely on Flash to work, and as you’re no doubt abundantly aware by now, Apple’s mobile devices don't support Flash, so they won’t display on the iPad or iPhone.

Here’s what you need to know about slide shows versus galleries:

  • Slide shows: After you click the Play button in a slide show, the images cycle through in the order that the creator of the slide show set up, and as rapidly (or as slowly) as that person thought optimal. Good slide shows have buttons you can press to advance to the next picture, pause, or skip backward.

    Bad slide show buttons replicate the experience of being trapped in a boring relative’s basement, forced to watch hours of bland vacation photos. Slide shows often incorporate sound to accompany photos, such as a voiceover describing them or a musical track. Adding sound to photos requires them to be synced to appear and disappear to the cues in the soundtrack, which can be tricky.

  • Galleries: Galleries tend to be more passive. Usually, they have an array of thumbnail shots of the photos, and when users click or tap one, the selected photo expands to fill most of the page.

    Some galleries use Flash or Microsoft Silverlight technology (neither of which work on Apple’s devices) to animate transitions from one image to the next; the developer community is working hard to update these galleries so that they work on all platforms.

The best option for the iPhone/iPad is to create slide shows or galleries with CSS or JavaScript, or both. If you know enough about JavaScript, you can create your own scripts, but many programs and extensions can help.

Make sure the photos you add to any gallery you create are optimized for the mobile web.

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