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Mobile Web Design
The Basic Principles of Mobile Website Design and WAP

Website design and implementation techniques generally used for internet browsers isn't necessarily compatible with that of most mobile phones. For a website to work well on a mobile phone, it has to follow accessibility and design guidelines for mobile websites which are set by the W3C - the standards organization for all websites, tools and applications.
 
A technology called the WAP is used for browsing from a mobile phone. WAP browsers are limited in terms of screen size and downloads. So to star with we have to strip down the design to fit the WAP parameters. While newer smart phones are providing a richer, more complete browsing experience to overcome many of the considerations listed below, the use of smart phones still has a long way to go.
 
The surest way to build a mobile compatible website is to modify or add-on to the existing website. You can expect several changes in terms of layout, design and construction if you want to have a single website that works with a full-browser and is WAP compatible. We can typically develop a second design that uses WAP standards, a second CSS that supports mobile computing and we will include browser sensing to activate the mobile website. It is a fairly simple addition to utilizes the existing content served via WebAdmin as discussed below.
 
Here are some basic considerations we take into account when starting on a mobile website design project. Several of these considerations are built into most websites we've designed and implemented. These are indicated with an asterisk*.
 
Websites which make use of tables for the main layout will not look right on mobile phones.
Your site must use CSS for the layout to ensure maximum compatibility.*
Coding for mobile web is usually in XML or XHTML with UTF-8 encoding.*
Different mobile phones have different screen sizes so some limitations will always exist.
Use the top of the page for the most navigation and the important content.*
Entering text in mobile websites can be cumbersome. Use of radio buttons and drop down lists is recommended.
Images for mobile websites should be in either JPEG or GIF format.
Good mobile website design should include page like back buttons and links*. Most phone browsers won't have a back button.
The maximum page size for a mobile web page is only 20 kilobytes (k).
 
In the end, a mobile website is almost always an abbreviated version of a full website. You will observe this in many of the most popular website including Google, Facebook and Amazon. For this reason, making the choice to go mobile should be carefully approached. Consider if the content is what your users want most or do you have an online application as your primary focus. If "content is king", the addition of a mobile website can be fairly painless. If you want your users to take advantage of a special application, you may want to consider have an "app" created.
 
 
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Tags: mobile  website  content  tools  apps  services 


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