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MOBILE WEB CONSIDERATIONS

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What makes a good mobile website? This is an impossible question to answer, because design and taste are always highly subjective matters. But certain considerations are worth bearing in mind from the start, and these considerations will undoubtedly help you create positive user experiences for your mobile users.



Recognizing Mobile Users
It should go without saying that the most important aspect to developing a mobile website is to ensure that it is available and easy to reach! This sounds straightforward, of course, but it can
actually become relatively involved: It ’ s a fair assumption that existing site owners are very careful to promote and use their current website URL consistently. If you want to create a separate site for your mobile users, should it be a different URL? Should it appear on the same URL? If so, how does the server or CMS know whether to present one type of site or another? How can you cater to user choice and potentially let them switch back and forth between your desktop and mobile sites? How can you publicize the (attractive) fact that the mobile site exists at all? And ensure that it is correctly listed in search engines and directories?

There are glib answers to all these questions, but each has a level of subtly to it, and no matter which technique you use for hosting, selecting, and publicizing your mobile presence, it is inevitable that you will have to distinguish between mobile users and desktop users. In reality, this means detecting between mobile and desktop browsers and then providing different sites or templates accordingly. Users find content in the strangest ways, and it remains the site owner ’ s responsibility to ensure that the right type of experience is given to each type of user. You look at a number of techniques for doing this, both in the general sense, but also for specific content management systems.



Thematic Consistency
A web standards body, the W3C, uses the term thematic consistency . This is not, as you may think, related to themes or the cosmetics of a site, but to the fact that according to the body ’ s “ One Web ” philosophy, the whole Web should be accessible from any device — so given a specific URL, any browser should receive the same content.

This is not to say that the same content should look the same (because the theming of a mobile
web page can be often very different to that of its equivalent desktop page), nor even that users on different devices want to see the same content (because they are quite possibly in a different context, looking for possibly very different things).

But the One Web philosophy is valuable and important, and indeed URLs should always be used in a way that honors the Uniform adjective of the acronym. It would be counterproductive for the
whole mobile web movement if it were to become a disconnected ghetto of content targeted at one type of device alone and did not share links, resources, and content with the vast existing Web.
When you are building your mobile website, think carefully about how its information architecture is sympathetic to this: The same posts, pages, articles, products, and so forth should be easily and consistently accessible from all types of browsers, even if their appearance and surrounding user - interface may be radically different.



Brand Consistency
It is also important to ensure that your own website ’ s brand is preserved between its mobile and desktop versions. There should be consistency between the theming, color schemes, and the look and feel of different types of sites. If your desktop site is light and airy and your mobile site is dark and cluttered, you will confuse your users, many of whom may remember what your desktop site looks like and may find it hard to correlate that with the mobile site, damaging their trust in your brand or site.

The same goes for your logo, color scheme, feature images, graphical elements and so on; within reason you should endeavor to reuse as much as possible between the two sites. Users need to feel that they are interacting with the same brand while being given an entirely optimized, mobile - centric experience.

Similarly, if your desktop site is renowned for a simple, cheerful, and highly efficient user interface and experience, your mobile users will expect the same of the mobile site. Indeed, due to its constraints, a mobile website obviously needs to have even more attention paid to its usability!



A Dedication to Usability
With limited real estate (both physically and in terms of pixels) and often very different input
techniques — not to mention the fact that users may be in a more time - sensitive context, and with a slower network connection — a mobile device needs to be presented with a site interface that is as efficient to use as possible. At the very least, consider carefully any use of excessive forms, multi - paged wizards to complete common or simple tasks, or complex menus to get to critical functionality. These are not likely to be appreciated by mobile users.

Instead, think hard about what mobile users want to do, and ensure that those critical tasks are as heavily optimized as possible on the mobile version of the interface. Arguably this was one of the big successes of the “ native app ” phenomenon: Although many apps were little more than
views of a company ’ s existing web content, the app paradigm allowed interface designers to think entirely afresh about how it could be accessed. The popular pattern of a toolbar at the bottom of an app ’ s screen with four or five important tasks that can be reached with a thumb seems a long way from the lengthy and complex menu bar across the top of a website, but it shows that the same information architecture and fundamental functionality can always be accessed using different user interface techniques. Think hard about which techniques work best for the new medium and types of devices you are targeting.



Remember Mobile
Finally, remember the point about the mobile device being so much more than merely a browser on a small screen. Yes, it ’ s phone, an address book, a game console, and so on, but it ’ s also a device that is in the user ’ s hand nearly every hour of the day, a device that brings unique capabilities and possibilities for you to design to.

Never forget that your mobile is an adjective, not a noun. The important point about the mobile
web is not that the user is holding a mobile phone, but that she is mobile. Make the most of the fact that the visitors to your website don ’ t just have a small screen, rather they are out and about in the real world, living their lives, staying connected — and they want to access everything you have to offer, whenever they want it, in a wonderful mobile way.

Source of Information : Wiley - Professional Mobile Web Development with WordPress Joomla and Drupal

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