Web Site Considerations For Mobile Devices

Mobile devices bring new challenges to how small businesses deliver content to their consumers via their websites.  For one, the screen on most mobile devices, even at four inches, is considerably less real estate, that a typical web browser would have on a desktop or laptop computer.  Another is bandwidth, mobile devices although with 3G speed (provides decent web browsing experience) is typically hit and miss, that is you don’t get a consistent connection speed everywhere.  The biggest issue with mobile devices is, of course, the cap that most carriers have, which is around 5 Gb per month.  With that said, it is no longer enough to have  a web-site that’s meant to serve desktop web browsers.

The number thing to consider is how to present your content in a logical fashion, one that makes sense for a mobile device.   There are many subtle differences in how users interact with mobile devices versus with how they interact with desktop computers.  One great example is gestures.  Mobile devices uses gestures to understand the intent of the user, i.e. did the  user intent to click or scroll the page?  Desktop computers on the other hand interpret mouse clicks.  The idea of gestures or mouse clicks may sound that they have nothing to do with your web site design, but they do.  On a desktop computer, you can hover your mouse pointer on something and perhaps display information and perhaps you can do the same on a mobile device but the whether it makes sense (it doesn’t in my book), is another story.  The smaller real estate while keeping the same need to present information at a font size that’s readable is another challenge.  The best mobile websites that deal with this challenge the best uses tables where each row either leads up to other tables or pages that display information.

To me, the biggest concern is load time and how much bandwidth it’ll use (and these two are related).  Websites designed for mobile devices should load fast (to keep your end user from being frustrated) and this could mean foregoing lots of graphics and other content that could possibly prevent your site from being loaded as fast as possible.

With all of that said, yes.  In order to be able to serve both desktop users and mobile device users with your web content, you must be setup to serve both type of needs and luckily with existing technology and knowledgeable people helping you out, it’s not hard to do at all.

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