Results Build Your Own
Strategy What is Your
How to Design and Build a Mobile Website
Did you know that in the world today there are more than 5.9 billion mobile phone users, and a thousand more are added every minute!
About 20% of these mobile phone owners (more than 1.2 billion and growing) have browsed the Internet through their mobile phones. This is the reason why mobile Web browsing is predicted to become the next predominant Internet platform.
Many consumer-driven companies have already seen how promising the mobile platform is and have already equipped themselves with a mobile web site. A mobile web site today is not simply a passing fad. It is predicted that in the future mobile sites will prove to be a necessity, even the new Internet standard. Right now, there are millions of WAP mobile users browsing the Internet. But, there is an unfortunate disparity when it comes to the number of consumer-focused mobile Web sites that actually load properly on mobile devices.
This is because there are special procedures involved in designing a mobile Web site. The following article is meant to help you learn how to design and build a mobile website.
Mobile Website Users
The first step to making a successful mobile website is understanding who will be viewing your site. Mobile website users are usually busy doing something else like waiting in line, walking through town, or spending time out with friends. Their main focus is not necessarily your website so information needs to be quick and easy to access.
The key difference between mobile and desktop users is that mobile users browse the internet in "on-the-go" situations, where desktop users are in stationary and predictable environments.
Some of Our Website Design Successes:
& Speak with a consultant
The Basic Principles of Mobile Website Design
First, you have to know that the Web site design and construction generally used for computer browsers is not compatible with that of mobile devices. For your site to work well on a mobile handset, it must follow the accessibility design guidelines for building mobile Websites which are set by the W3C.
Mobile phones that have separate data plans are not able to download large amounts of data quickly so designing for quick download time is crucial.
The easiest way to build your mobile Website is to modify your existing Internet site to make it compatible for mobile handsets. If you decide to do so, expect that there will be big changes in terms of layout, design and construction.
Here are some principles about mobile Web design that you should take note of before proceeding to build one of your own:
- Your site must use CSS for the layout to ensure maximum compatibility. Avoid using tables.
- It is easiest if your site is coded using either XML or XHTML, with your character encoding set at UTF-8.
- You have to consider that different mobile devices have different screen sizes. Design and build with a "fluid" layout in mind.
- Remember to put all the most important information that you want mobile users to see on the top of the page like site search and navigation. It can be time consuming to browse through a mobile site, not to mention tedious to read through. Make your mobile site design convenient for your consumers.
- Design for fingers. Click targets should be a minimum of 30-40px in size and use whitespace in between elements to ease clickability.
- Forms can be difficult to use on a mobile device. Since text is time consuming to enter, you may want to offer your user the convenience of radio buttons and lists, which they can choose from depending on what they need. Also, reduce the number of screens a user passes through to complete a form. Form labels should be top aligned rather than left aligned to save space.
- Forms should require the minimum amount of data input and should remember the data for the next time a user visits the site.
- Most browsers don't support plugins or extensions
- Lastly, the phrase "less is more" holds true to mobile design. Avoid using unnecessary graphics.
To find out more about desiging for mobile websites, view the slideshow below:
How to build a mobile Website
A few tags are needed in the <head> section of the webpage to let the browser know that the page is ready to be viewed in a mobile browser:
<meta name="HandheldFriendly" content="True">
<meta name="MobileOptimized" content="320">
<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width">
More information on these meta tags can be found here.
Also, if you want your website to detect what type of device is trying to view the site, you will need to create a php script that detects the incoming device and changes the website layout accordingly. There are many available solutions out there and can best be found through a browser search. The most important thing is to not base the script off of a list of devices (iphone, android, windows phone, etc.), but rather detect what type of device is viewing the page. Mobile devices come and go updating lists can get tedious.
It is difficult to make your mobile website display the same on all mobile devices. The best solution to keep your mobile website as clean and simple as possible and to make sure it has design and functionality fallback options for older mobile devices.
For a good list of mobile resources, click here.
At WebpageFX, our team of knowledgeable web developers and creative web designers is fully capable of building and designing a mobile version of your most important online asset, your website.
|Design and build of mobile pages||✓||✓||✓|
|Design / branding consistent with existing website||✓||✓||✓|
|Automatic resizing and adjustment||✓||✓||✓|
|Install / code provided to redirect mobile visitors||✓||✓||✓|
|Click to email function||✓||✓||✓|
|Click to call function||✓||✓||✓|
|Ability to turn mobile site on/off||✓||✓||✓|
|Addition of YouTube video (if applicable)||✓||✓||✓|
|Addition of Google Analytics visitor tracking||✓||✓||✓|
|Development of mobile sitemap||✓||✓||✓|
|Setup of web form||✓||✓|
|SEO for mobile||✓|
|Call tracking number for monthly ROI tracking||Additional $200/mo.||Additional $200/mo.||Additional $200/mo.|
|Custom programming||Call for quote||Call for quote||Call for quote|
|Database integration||Call for quote||Call for quote||Call for quote|
|Need more information? Call Us: 717-609-1553||Sign Up||Sign Up||Sign Up|
As you can see, there's a lot to consider when designing and building a mobile website. The principles of mobile design are different than those of conventional web site design. If you do not have the time or patience to learn new coding practices, then consider hiring a firm that specializes in mobile web site design. Many firms also offer mobile SEO and PPC services as well, in anticipation for the growing need of instantaneous information.
If you currently do not have a mobile website, you are potentially losing out on extra business. Consider getting one today!
Page updated: October 11th, 2013
Call 888.449.3239 or contact us online today to start designing your new mobile