Apple iPad Already Leading to Web Site Redesign

Like many other media companies, NPR is scrambling to prepare an app in time for the iPad's April 3 launch.

But the standoff between Apple and Adobe has prompted the company to take on another engineering project at the same time: It is building a version of its Web site designed specifically for the iPad.

So if all goes as planned, iPad users who want to listen to NPR programming will have a couple choices next month. They can download a free iPad-optimized version of the broadcaster's popular (2 million downloads) iPhone app.

Or use the iPad's browser to visit, which will detect that it's being viewed with Apple's device and serve up a custom-built site. That means no trace of Adobe's (ADBE) Flash, which is used to power graphics and media on the site.

I've heard of a handful of other big publishers who are also altering some but not all of their Web sites to create iPad-optimized versions.

That's what the Wall Street Journal, which like this site is owned by News Corp, is doing, for instance: Visitors to the Journal's front page will see an iPad-specific, Flash-free page. But people who click deeper into the site will eventually find pages that haven't been converted.

Kinsey Wilson, who oversees digital media for NPR, says he's been able to create a new version of his Web site — while keeping the existing one up and running for other visitors — because of recent redesign of the site, which split up the data that powers the site from its presentation layer. In English, that means that NPR can swap out the site's facade while keeping its plumbing and foundation intact.

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