A “mobile-friendly” Website offers content without clutter and is easily viewable on mobile devices. Creating a mobile-friendly website has become crucial if you desire a presence on the mobile web. With more people browsing the internet from their mobile devices, it is important to make your website accessible to these users. If your business relies on the internet to generate revenue, then it is critical that you make adjustments to accommodate mobile customers.
A website displayed on a computer screen is not the same as a website displayed on a mobile device. There are, to name few: layout issues, navigation problems, and design issues. If you begin with a valid HTML code that is written with clean, logical markup, then you are ahead of the game. A well structured code with clear organization and semantic markup will display cleanly, is usable and accessible on any device; including mobiles.
Web developers may take few steps to optimize their website for mobile devices. These steps include:
- Create a separate CSS style sheet for mobile devices (media type handheld). Using CSS to separate content from presentation means your content will be accessible, even on the least capable mobile devices.
- Reduce the number of round-trip requests to your server and the amount of data transferred.
- Resize and compress images for the small screen to ensure fast page loading.
- Design the website to work for mobile devices: provide large clickable features and short links that are easy to type. Make sure the content is clear and concise. Design with a small screen in mind. While computer screens are getting bigger, mobile screens are not.
- Provide clear and concise navigation. Remove internal links that are not useful for mobile users.
- Optimize the website to have fast-loading pages.
- Minify your code. The less file size, the faster your page will load.
- Remove needless components: widgets, plugins and add-ons may slow down the website´s loading time and may not even work at all on old mobile devices.
- Eliminate link redirects.
- Rethink your content. Mobile users want useful information quickly.
- Think Vertical: organize content with mobile consumption in mind. Structure your website so that content and pictures are organized vertically, with pictures on top of articles. Content should be displayed in a one-column format.
- Eliminate any unnecessary images.
- Where possible Use CSS3 instead of images. HTML5 browsers that support CSS3 (like Android, Mobile Safari) can use attributes for gradients, rounded corners, shadows and text transformations.
- Take advantage of new features in HTML: use HTML5 and CSS3 when possible.
- Use Fluid/Liquid design: use relative measures like percentage (%) and em units. Avoid using pixels.
- Eliminate frames: frames should not be used to start with.
- Eliminate popups in favor of plain HTML.
- Eliminate nested tables and layout tables. If you have tabular data, consider another way to present the data in a linearized display.
- Reduce margins, paddings and borders to fit the small screen.
- Use smaller font sizes.
- Keep it simple. Limit the need for user input and minimize user clicks.
- Use Java instead of Flash. Java is the most commonly used platform for mobile website development.
- If you have a long navigation list at the start of the page, move the links to the end of the document flow.
- Chose color combinations that provide good contrast, particularly for devices with fewer color options.
- Last but not the least, extensively test your mobile-friendly website on multiple devices – including, if possible, actual devices and mobile simulators. In the same way a regular website face testing, mobile versions of websites require testing and validation.
- If you have Adobe Dreamweaver installed on your computer, you can preview mobile content with Adobe Device Central. Adobe Device Central uses skins for dozens of mobile devices to display your content in various ways. The preview can give you a good impression of how content will look and behave on selected devices.
In conlusion, the need for mobile websites will continue to grow. Don´t let your business lag behind with an unfriendly website that is useless to your mobile customers.
Tools that help you create a Mobile version of your existing website:
I am assuming that you already have a website, but you also want to make it mobile-friendly. These are the tools that can help with that:
Tools to validate your Mobile website:
Tools to test and view your Mobile website:
Question: Will HTML5 Eliminate the Need for a Mobile Device Design?