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Eight tips to consider before building a mobile websites

Why do mobile sites have different needs to standard ones?

With over 75 million Americans accessing the web through mobile phones, we can conclusively say that mobile web browsing has come to stay. comStore statistics recently reported that 50 million people in the United States have an Android, iPhone or a BlackBerry phone.

The Logo of BlackberryWhat these huge numbers clearly mean is that your business can not afford not to provide a mobile website for a convenient browsing experience for your customers. Mobile websites are starting to become a ‘must have’ for any kind of business today.

The rate at which people are accessing the web today throughout the world from their mobile phones is becoming increasingly clear that any business that wants to remain in business must leverage the opportunity of mobile browsing. It is easy, cheap and quick to do it today; in fact, some web design companies render this service for free. But before you decide modifying your existing website to make it compatible for mobile handsets, put these things right:

1. Page Size

It is important to assign a simple style for all mobile websites, the page size also small. Remember that 20KB is the maximum page size for all mobile friendly pages. If you can use less than 10KB making everything nicely fitted for any kind of phone, considering that users are charged per KB of mobile data you will be doing your business good.

2. Coding

There is actually no special coding required for mobile websites. Using XML or XHTML for your mobile friendly site is much easier and faster. Using basic HTML and CSS is also good. Carefully craft with target key words the filenames, title tags, heading tags and description meta tags to fully maximize the optimizable content present.

3. Content

There is actually no special way to arrange content for mobile websites. The rule is simply-all mobile websites should be readable and easy to navigate, since your visitors are on the go and may not want to waste time on something difficult to read or surf. As for the content typography, it is preferable to use headings to control the font size.

4. Images

Most mobile phones take longer time to load images. Use graphics and images as little as possible only where necessary, this will aid easy navigation for your mobile website users. Jpeg, gif or png are best formats for mobile images because they are very much light–weight. Compressing your pictures to avoid zooming is something you must not forget.

5. Layout

Mobile browsing is quite time consuming, so ensure you put all the most important information you want your mobile website users to see on the top of the page your company logo should be included as well. Left and right navigation should be minimized because it is difficult navigating with a phone.

A better option is to arrange all your content in a single column. Tables should not be used, but if necessary no more than 2 columns, rows and column merging should be avoided.

6. Page links

Back buttons and links are features of all good mobile websites. Providing them will help visitors escape dead ends, though, not all phones are designed with back buttons.

7. Domain Choice

Ensure to use a mobi domain which clearly indicates a mobile friendly experience instead of .edu, .com, .org etc, which generally stand for desktop browsing.

8. Test Run

Your mobile website should be tested on multiple devices. This will help you know if your site will provide a good mobile experience for users.

0 replies on “Eight tips to consider before building a mobile websites”

I agree with all of the above, but I would also suggest having a separate set of pages for mobile devices.

It’s rare that one site layout can accommodate all devices. If you consider touch screen devices they usually need slightly larger buttons/clickable areas to navigate. Screen sizes vary too — smartphones are typically tall and narrow (iPhone/Android) but can rotate, whereas Blackberry’s are usually short and wide.

It only takes a line of code the top of a web page to determine the type of device and automatically give the user the best possible experience.

Since we already have an idea about the importance of having a mobile website, lets talk about their effectiveness. An effective mobile website should:
1. Have simple graphics (soothing to the eye)
2. Be as light as possible (for quick loading)
3. Have a similar visual theme as your main website (users can get a sense of familiarity)
4. Contain no or very miniscule flash, java content as most iOS devices do not play those scrips making your website look dull and empty.

Google has also said that mobile search is the future. Also by 2015 large number of persons will have their own smartphone which they will use for surfing internet. So keeping in mind this, all business should start tightening their belt 🙂

I guess layout and page size are two of the most important thing to consider. Since I’m using my mobile phone to visit different sites, it is also important for me to consider if I need to adjust the zoom option for my mobile for me to see the whole page.

Great tips, Kevin!

I would add that you should remember that a higher percentage of your mobile visitors will be looking for a click-to-call option (if they went to your site because they want to call you) or a get-directions button (if they are on their way to your physical location) right on the home page.

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