Mobile Web Sites Dos and Don’ts

In one of my previous post, I talked about general things to consider when building a web site for mobile devices.  For this entry, I’ve decided to do a simple list of dos and don’ts that you might consider when building the mobile version of your website.

DOs

  • Make it simple.  This can affect how readable your site is on the mobile platform and how fast it’ll load within a 3G or worse, Edge network.  This however, doesn’t mean that you should just plain black text and white background.  Use CSS to customize the look and feel of your web site.  With CSS you can achieve great look without resorting to heavy use of graphical images.
  • Mind the real estate.  Mobile phones have tiny screen with tiny resolution so design your mobile site with that in mind.  Users should not have to zoom their browsers (or do anything else) just so they can see your content.
  • Use javascript and css.  I mentioned CSS earlier but with javascript as well, you can get fancier and add simple to complex animations to your site. (as a note, I recommended this simply because of the rise of iOS and Android devices whose browsers support javascript and css)
  • Optimize for target devices.  There are a lot of devices with different screen sizes and resolutions.  This could be tricky but with the right design and right technology, it can be a breeze to do.
DON’Ts
  • Use your full fledge web site as your mobile web site.  Pretty self-explanatory I think but the main point here is that the user experience on a desktop or lap top is way different than the user experience on a mobile device.  In face, if you view your web site on a mobile device, you yourself will likely have an unpleasant experience.
  • Create a complicated navigation system.  A user should be able to get to your content with at the most two clicks.  With mobile devices, its best to use a menu system to navigate the site but can sometime create a deep navigation bread crumb.  If that ever becomes the case, make sure to rethink and prioritize your content.
  • Don’t use pop-ups or other features like frames.  Keep your design simple.  Popups are annoying even when using desktop computers and much more so when using mobile devices.  Get rid of them.  Frames are old and can only take precious real estate.
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