Let me reveal a staggering number. There are more than 5.9 billion mobile phone users and before I write the next sentence or two, a thousand more users are getting added!
More than 20% of the mobile phone owners have browsed the web through their own mobile handsets. Hence it is predicted that mobile websites should soon come up, for visits through smartphones.
Many consumer-driven companies have witnessed the incredible value of the mobile platform and hence did not think much for creating a mobile website. This is not going to be a passing phase for the mobile websites since it will soon be a necessity leveraging the huge number of WAP mobile users who browse the web. But the unfortunate thing is that consumer-focused mobile websites are not many in number. This fact is because of special procedures involved for mobile website development.
The first step for developing a successful mobile website is to understand its immediate users and audience. Mobile website users are generally on the move which is why the entire information should be easy to read and legible.
Website design for sites which can be run on computers and laptops are not compatible with mobile devices. For a site to work well, the accessibility design guidelines need to be abided which are defined by the W3C Consortium. Additionally, users who have mobile phones with separate data plans will find it impossible to download huge data quickly so the site should be displayed quickly without much download time.
Modifying the existing Internet site is the easiest way to make mobile handset-compatible website. Converting from static sites to mobile compatible websites will be in terms of layout, overall design and structure. Here are some general principles which would be required to create a mobile website:
Use CSS for the layout for better mobile compatibility while avoiding the use of tables
Code using XML or XHTML while set the character encoding at UTF-8
Design and build the layout of the sites with a "fluid" structure in mind to match different sizes and screens of smartphones
Remember to put info at the top of the page for better site search and navigation. The design should be absolutely convenient for users.
Design for fingers with 30-40px in size for click targets
Combine smaller images into one file and use CSS to reduce http requests.
Forms can prove to be difficult for mobile device use. Text mostly takes time and hence it is better if forms include choice options while also cutting down on screens to complete a form. Align form labels to the top for saving on valuable space.
Forms should include data input which was entered previously to save on time
Mobiles follow the dictum "Less is More." Hence one should avoid redundant or unnecessary information on the website
Avoid using plugins as most mobiles do not support the same. There are only a few which are supported by smartphones.
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