Best Practices for Mobile optimization of your website!

Over the past few years, mobile Internet consumption has increased at an exponential rate.  A good portion of this can be attributed to the success of smart phone devices like Google’s Android platform, Apple’s iPhone, RIM’s Blackberry, and of course Windows mobile phones.

When phones first became Internet capable, it was common for developers to enable their web pages to work with the WAP browsers. Current smart phones are much more powerful, the browsers work with standards in-line with their larger computer brethren. This has led many developers feel that there is no need to create versions of their websites that work with WAP browsers.

While that may be true, some provisions  should be made to insure that your users will have quick access to your content using the slower Internet connections provided by their phones.

Below given are few tips to make sure that your website will satisfy your visitors on their mobile devices.

 

1. Create a Sub domain

Creating a mobile version of your website begins with creating a sub-domain of your current site. Most users have become accustomed to appending “m” or “mobile” so that your URL reads m.yoursite.com or mobile.yoursite.com. After creating a sub-domain, you have the choice in how you want your mobile site to work. Either it can be a mirror of your main sites content with a custom CSS file made for mobile browsers or you can choose to make an independent site that has its own content that you feel would benefit mobile users.

2. Liquid Column Layouts

Like computer monitors, mobile devices are appearing in all different sizes and resolutions. The easiest way around the varying sizes is to use a liquid layout that will adjust to any screen size. One way to accomplish this is to not define content sections by absolute pixels and use percentages instead. This will allow the sections to only be able to take up X% of any given screen size. Another way around this is to not define anything in the CSS file and let the HTML render naturally. Of course this last method may not be visually pleasing, but it is a quick and dirty way towards getting mobile friendly.

3. Trimming the FAT

On the smaller screen, it is important to focus the user on the content they are looking for. On mobile browsers there simply is not enough space for the rich content that could be delivered on big screens. It is a good idea to remove the large pictures, and dozens of links that navigate around your site. What used to be a convenience to navigate around your site becomes a nuisance in its mobile version

Conclusion

The tips above are a few ways to optimize your mobile website for the growing amount of traffic from smart phones. Of course before beginning work on the mobile version of your website you will want to take a look at the traffic that you are getting. Mobile traffic is a small portion of the Internets total traffic, a little more than 1%, yet it is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years. Now is a good time to look at how your site looks in mobile browsers to ensure future success.

May, 25, 2010

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