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How to Build a Mobile Site


With most people now also using their mobile phones, smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices to access the Internet, it is very important that you should have a mobile-friendly site.

Mobile friendly sites are also useful if you are going to use a QR code to direct to an URL.

This is to ensure that you provide a good user experience, instead of irritating your users with graphics that are too large, text that are too small, or having your layout screwed up when viewed on smaller screens.

Here are our top five tips on building a mobile site:

1. Keep it short and simple. A mobile site needs to be kept very simple and very direct. If you overload it with graphics or links, it might not display well. Also, keeping a simple layout will make it easier for you to get your pages to display correctly on different screen sizes.

Also, keep it short. By short, we mean that every element should be smaller. Your logo, your content, your navigation bar, your footer should be short. You should have clickable links on your navigation bar to make it easy for people to visit other main pages of your site. A short content would lessen the need for scrolling up and down or even left to right just to read your page.

File sizes should be small too. You can render your logo beautifully and still have a small file size.

2. Avoid Flash animation. While more and more devices are now coming out with Flash compatibility, you are still risking turning some of your mobile users off because of lengthy load times!

3. Use valid code. There are times when website encoders use codes that are optimized for PCs. Remember that even if the mobile device has a good browser, it will still be limited in terms of what it could display or not. Using valid code lessens the chances of pages not displaying well.

This would also tell you to avoid fancy scripts such as Javascript.

4. Fluid layouts. Fluid layouts are when you specify % or ems rather than pixels. Using a CSS style of width:400px; for example tells the browser to display your content 400 pixels wide, no matter if the mobile device only has 250 pixels of screen. Instead use width: 100%, so that no matter how big or small the screen is, your page will take up the whole screen.

5. Use different stylesheets for different media types. You can specify different stylesheets depending on what media is being used. A simple addition of this code to your section:

<link rel=”stylesheet” href=”mobile.css” type=”text/css” media=”handheld”/>

would tell the mobile browser to access the mobile.css and use it for optimum page display on mobile phones.

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