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Should Businesses Have Mobile Friendly Websites?

Cliff posted more than 8 years ago | from the a-website-in-your-pocket dept.

Handhelds 117

cellPhoneSafe: "A client of ours has asked us to develop a mobile friendly version of their website. Their CEO has a Pocket PC and his browsing experience of his site is not great. However, aside from keeping him happy, is there a business case for a mobile friendly version of his site? Is there actually any volume of web surfers using a Pocket PC, Palm, or other web-capable pocket devices? It's one thing to convince a client of the benefit of supporting Mozilla (else they'll loose 10% of potential customers), but how do the figures stack up for mobile users? To be honest, I'd be surprised if mobile users accounted for more than 1 in a 1000 visitors to a site, so I'd be interested in your experiences. Have you developed a website for mobile users? Were you overwhelmed with new customers? Did these mobile users expect a different service offering to traditional PC users?"

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mobile internet, not much fun, even if improved (4, Interesting)

yagu (721525) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603238)

I can only speak from my personal experiences with mobile internet, and they've been mostly disappointing, but I think the shortcoming is more in the form factor and less in the reluctance or resistance of the internet developers to provide mobile compatible web sites.

I first surfed "mobile" with a cell phone, "duette" (can't remember the manufacturer, doesn't matter). It had a small something-like six or seven line black and white character based screen. The access to the internet was provided by the phone service, and apparently they pretty much mapped the web sited you would access, there was no notion of "address bar" (that I remember). The speed was slow, the sites were rarely updated, and the presentation was terrible.

Fast forward to a month ago when I got the latest Palm with hi-res screen and wi-fi built in. I mostly got it for the high quality screen (which has not disappointed) but looked forward to also having near hi-res internet experience. This device has essentially half-VGA resolution and hence gives "normal" surfing access to the internet.

I've not encountered too many sites that bother to accommodate mobile devices, and after using the Palm TX for a while I see why. The Palm is probably one of the better devices for screen quality and even then (even when a site "does mobile"), the experience is unsatisfactory. (Google actually does a mobile presentation, but I actually would prefer it didn't -- the real estate and presentation is SO clamped down, I'd prefer panning the screen.)

In my opinion, I don't think there is much to be done about creating a satisfactory, let alone a "great" experience for mobile devices. Their form factor is just too small -- there are far too many people who, even with high resolution, cannot use these to surf the net comfortably.

If I were making decisions about a web site and whether to accommodate mobile devices my first instinct would be to ignore that niche. I wonder if there are any compelling counters to this experience?

Re:mobile internet, not much fun, even if improved (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603444)

I have an LG U8120 which (despite its many other faults) renders most sites quite well. The drawback is simply the size of the screen. To get at most content involves so much scrolling around that the process becomes too cumbersome and frustrating, and I nearly always prefer to wait to use a proper computer.

Re:mobile internet, not much fun, even if improved (1)

coolgeek (140561) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603464)

A better article: Should Slashdot have a mobile friendly website?

When I view it on my Treo 650, /. comes out in a column of one word, like so:



Re:mobile internet, not much fun, even if improved (1)

Eustace Tilley (23991) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603499)

Have you tried using Opera Mini for Treo [] to view Slashdot?

yes (1)

zogger (617870) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603730)

Seems we just had an article on this, explaining how Opera does it. Perhaps it's not the device that makes sites bad, but just the default choice of browser the PDA guys ship with it.

Re:mobile internet, not much fun, even if improved (1)

coolgeek (140561) | more than 8 years ago | (#14605116)

I gave up on Opera for the Treo when it wouldn't render the image on that I bookmarked. Just gave me a blank screen.

Re:mobile internet, not much fun, even if improved (1)

Mattcelt (454751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14607085)

Opera Mini is, unfortunately, slower than molasses on my Blackberry 7290. (It loads so slowly I can't use it.)

I am going to purchase a Nokia 770 tablet here in the near future, and I am doing more browsing using my blackberry than I ever thought I would. (Checking flight itineraries, etc.)

IMHO, I think there really is a future in mobile browsing, but I don't think it should be the coder's responsibility to make a site mobile-compatible. I think Apache et al. should step up to the plate and automatically generate mobile-friendly pages that the devices can render without needing customized versions. But that's just me.

Re:mobile internet, not much fun, even if improved (1)

coreyb (125522) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604233)

I have a TX, and it does the same thing as your treo on the default page. Try

Re:mobile internet, not much fun, even if improved (1)

coolgeek (140561) | more than 8 years ago | (#14605124)

Thank you good sir. You rock.

Re:mobile internet, not much fun, even if improved (1)

Quila467 (606996) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604751)

Other than your post, my Blackberry 8700 does not stack the words like that. Slashdot seems to be relatively easy to navigate on this 320x240 screen. That said, I rarely use the internet on the Blackberry. I've had other mobile devices that I rarely used the internet on too, both Palm and Windows Mobile. It's just not practical. I'll do a Google search every now and then, but for the most part, there isn't much on the internet that can't wait until I'm sitting in front of screen that is more comfortable to look at. Unless your company sells products or services specifically for mobile devices, designing your web site for mobile devices is probably a waste of time.

Re:mobile internet, not much fun, even if improved (1)

vitamine73 (818599) | more than 8 years ago | (#14605635)

Have you tried this [] ?

Re:mobile internet, not much fun, even if improved (2, Interesting)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603750)

The biggest problems are that A) websites don't have the proper design and styles for handhelds and B) that mobile devices don't properly support handheld styles. It's difficult to make a decent mobile website because phones and PDAs just don't have decent browsers that actually obey the rules. A major pain in the ass.

I do think at least a basic mobile site is important though. Basic information such as contact info, hours, product descriptions, etc should be available for mobiles.

Re:mobile internet, not much fun, even if improved (1)

iggy_mon (737886) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604004)

I've had a Palm of one flavor or another for years now. One of my favorite programs for the Palm OS is Plucker at [] . Here's a bit from their web site:

With Plucker installed on your Palm, you can read any Internet web pages, ebooks, text-files, or other documents you want at any time, simply by converting it with Plucker's desktop tools, and sending it to your Palm for reading on your Palm handheld.

Obviously it's not a real-time browser, but offline only. But not one of my favorite web sites has to restructure their sites for just a handful of users.

It handles images, links, RSS, RDF, text files, HTML PDF, and many other file formats, etc, etc. And it's GNU.

I recommend your client give Plucker a shot. Can't hurt anything, the software has been stable for ages.

Re:mobile internet, not much fun, even if improved (1)

sirsky (53613) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604953)

#1.) Slashdot is 100% mobile compatible.

#2.) I'm browsing, reading and commenting on a Samsung i700 - low resolution, slow connectivity, and it's perfect.

#3.) I wish more sites were as accessible as this.

Re:mobile internet, not much fun, even if improved (1)

nmos (25822) | more than 8 years ago | (#14605489)

My experrience has been somewhat different. I'm writing this now on my Zaurus. /. renders perfectly as do the web mail and calendar features of phpgroupware. I don't think sites need to have special mobile versions, in fact the same pages that are difficult on my Z tend to be annoying on my desktop as well. As long as the design is clean and doesn't just assume you are viewing at some particular resolution it generally renders just fine.

sig - ot (1)

koekepeer (197127) | more than 8 years ago | (#14605661)

"-- ANYONE who claims more than months or even weeks uptime in XP isn't applying patches!"

either that, or they are not online ;P

Re:mobile internet, not much fun, even if improved (1)

cavemanf16 (303184) | more than 8 years ago | (#14606627)

The closest thing I've found to a usable "mobile web experience" is downloadable car purchasing info from and AvantGo for Palm's and their ilk. Even so, that info is something you download and transfer to your Palm Pilot, not a direct online connection via "mobile web" connection. Besides, why waste time with the very small screen real-estate of a Palm Pilot when you've got a laptop with a wireless USB keychain device? It's like getting a sip of water from a firehose.

Re:mobile internet, not much fun, even if improved (1)

Soybean47 (885009) | more than 8 years ago | (#14607079)

I think it depends on what your content is. If you're running a movie theatre and you post your show times on the web, then having an easily-accessible mobile version of that is going to do wonders. Note: easily accessible! No several-links-deep crap. Mobile browsing is way too slow for that. Users need to be able to set a bookmark on their phone that goes right to the page with the movie times.

On the other hand, if your web site advertises your car dealership or something, it may be less important. You could still find good uses for a mobile site, but it would be used much less frequently.

Basically, if you expect that a large number of people will often want to check a small amount of frequently-changing information on your site, I think it's stupid NOT to make a mobile version of that. Otherwise, there may be benefits, but they'll likely be minor and may not be worth the effort.

Chicken and egg? (3, Informative)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603246)

More mobile users would visit if it were actually somewhat easy to visit. But companies won't make an attempt at a mobile site until there's enough volume. This is why technology gets adapted so damn slowly.

Re:Chicken and egg? (1)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604290)

Catch 22.
They won't get volume if their sites don't render correctly.

I've experiemented with using CSS '@media handheld' on my sites but the sites I have aren't really geared for the mobile market.

Not in my experience (2, Insightful)

timmyf2371 (586051) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603260)

I would guess it's different for most people and how they use mobile browsing (if at all). Here's my take on it.

I use a mobile device quite frequently to access the internet when travelling and aside from the applications such as IRC and other such utilities, I don't usually use the web browsing facility for anything *too* serious; I'll catch up on the latest news, look up the phone number for the nearest Pizza Hut and activities like that.

If there's a website I want to purchase something from, or even find information out about a particular business, I'll stick the URL in my to-do list and check it out when I'm at a PC or laptop, allowing me to look into it in more depth.

This will happen when... (0, Offtopic)

SilverspurG (844751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603261)

...advertisers figure out how to make pay-per-click text banner ads.

The web has become so commercialized that it's not even the web anymore. It's just an advertisement forum.

Umm... another "It Depends" answer (2, Interesting)

Zadaz (950521) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603262)

In general, no, but who goes to your site? If it's young Japanese girls, then you better have one that will work on their phones. Are you processing orders from a sales force on their PDA's? Would be nice to get those orders in... I mean one look at your server logs should tell you how many people trying to use a mobile browser...

Re:Umm... another "It Depends" answer (3, Interesting)

JanneM (7445) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603306)

I mean one look at your server logs should tell you how many people trying to use a mobile browser...

That will of course tend to undercount it quite a bit. How many people will even try, knowing from experience that commercial sites almost never work unless they specifically say so on their homepage?

It reminds me of my (former) bank that stated they will never allow Mozilla since none of their customers use it - which they of course did not since they couldn't.

Re:Umm... another "It Depends" answer (1)

pe1chl (90186) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603317)

Of course there is a problem with this approach.
A look at our logs of 2005 says that a whopping 0.03% of our visitors used Windows CE. Maybe I should check for some more signs of a mobile user, and get to the estimated 0.1% figure.

But our website is not mobile-friendly. Those visitors probably were scared away pretty quickly. How can I know what would happen if the site indeed worked for them?

Re:Umm... another "It Depends" answer (1)

kurth (221375) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603449)

Didn't you mean 0.01%? You stated 10 percent....

Re:Umm... another "It Depends" answer (1)

cli_man (681444) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603601)

I am not sure that the server logs are going to help you, as said otherwise in this thread if you are not friendly to a mobile browser then you won't have the users.

I think the better question would be, how valuable would your site be to people on the go that are not in front of a computer? If you have a mostly informational site then I wouldn't convert if possible. However if you have a service to find the nearest coffee shop, see stock prices in real-time, or bid on a auction then having your site mobile friendly would be a great idea.

Of course we all know that you will have to do it because your PHB wants to be able to browse the site on his handheld, like he ever would anyways right?

Treo 650 Experience (1)

Zack (44) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603263)

I recently got a Treo 650, and while Blazer can render most pages well, I mostly stick with sites that I know work well. Wikipedia (with the right skin), and Google are great. Other sites like IMDB work well, but are slow due to extra stuff that doesn't render well. If they had a mobile IMDB system, I'd use it all the time. (I'm horrible with actor names, and have to know where I recognize someone from)

Actually for /., I just use the normal pages in "light" mode, which works out quite well. I don't get enough of the comments, which is why I love /.

If anyone knows any other good mobile pages, I'd love to hear them.

How does the browser experience differ for those with different devices.

Re:Treo 650 Experience (1)

pretentiousPPC (618549) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604043)

You might try []

I think /. did it right by this, works great for me. I will usually read it on my cell on my way to/from work. Grabs the top 5 comments of each story which is usually enough while on the go, or at least until you can get home and read it.

Re:Treo 650 Experience (1)

Zack (44) | more than 8 years ago | (#14605571)

It appears I didn't make myself clear, my apologies.

I read /. less for the articles and more for the comments. "Top 5" doesn't make it in my book. "Top 50" might have chance. But as mobile internet changes, so shouldn't the sites that provide service?

I'm on my Treo all the time. ALL the time. Be it playing games, getting email, listening to music or watching movies. I have it out always. I want more! I'm greedy, I know.

Would mobile users pay for such websites? (2, Informative)

imoou (949576) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603267)

It's commonly agreed that a mobile friendly website takes additional resources to create.

Given the fact that most websites have problem asking money from traditional site visitors, I find it hard to believe any additional spending can be justified by most websites.

Having said that, some niche websites, which either [1] are built primarily for mobile users (that is, mobile friendly website is in the initial budget) or [2] offer valuable content which mobile users are willing to pay for.

Re:Would mobile users pay for such websites? (1)

Eustace Tilley (23991) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603419)

I'm a mobile user, and I pay for a mobile-usable website by doing business with the company. A company whose website shows up blank, or a company whose website tells me I need to download some other browser, is a company I sincerely hope will fail promptly and free up its employees and capital to someplace that will put them to better use.

Re:Would mobile users pay for such websites? (1)

Mr. Shiny And New (525071) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604480)

The problem is, this argument applies to everyone. Some people insist on using strange browsers, or really old browsers. Should my website support those users? Supporting those users incurs a measurable cost; in fact, even supporting IE AND Firefox costs more than just supporting IE. That's a fact for any non-trivial website. Adding a third browser, or several others, like Konqueror, Safari, and Opera, costs yet more, even though these are all modern browsers that should support the same standards. And the situation is even worse when new versions come out that change the rules, like IE7 promises to do.

Then you want us to support your mobile browser, the one that has a screen size/resolution totally different from any PC, the one with no mouse or pointing device, often poor graphics support, as well as an enormous variety of technological standards and support for standards? Some mobile browsers support Javascript, some don't. Some support a bit of Javascript, some a different bit. Some support this, some support that.

Frankly, for 99% of businesses, their capital is best spent serving the majority of their customers, instead of trying to cater to the < 1% of users who want to use a mobile browser. For some websites the information is basically impossible to convey in a useful way on a mobile browser without a complete site redesign. Just look at for an example: this site is mobile-friendly and yet totally different from the main slashdot. So essentially two front-end codebases have to be coded, debugged, tested, and maintained. That's a lot of work for potentially little gain. You could simply say that every user who has some unusual user-agent should be catered to... why don't we write websites that look good in Netscape 4.x anymore? or IE 3? Heck, most sites could be made in Netscape 3 if they needed to be. The user experience wouldn't be as good, but it would still work, for the 10 people out there running Netscape 3 on their 640x480 displays with 8bit colour.

Re:Would mobile users pay for such websites? (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 8 years ago | (#14607309)

What annoys me is sites which require javascript or flash support to do what could be done with "a href" - simple HTML links.

Can anyone tell me why web designers do that? They don't know HTML?

Re:Would mobile users pay for such websites? (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604922)

"It's commonly agreed that a mobile friendly website takes additional resources to create."

Though you're correct, what's silly about that is that a lot of sites run off of databases etc. It shouldn't be that hard for sites like Slashdot or Engadget to support PDAs. (Not saying they don't, I wouldn't know, just using them as an example.) Simply write a simpler template that pulls the info out of and throws it on the screen. It was a lot harder back in the days of doing everything in HTML, but with all the server side scripting going on, even an ameteur PHP programmer like me wouldn't see it as too big of challenge.

Eh, maybe I'm naive and am oversimplifying things too much, but it seems to me that a lot of the websites most of us wander over to already have a setup intended to facilitate different page templates.

Really depends on the companies needs... (2, Interesting)

licamell (778753) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603273)

You really can't expect a decent answer to your question without presenting the needs of the company better. Is this company's website just an information website about the company, or do they actually provide some sort of web-based business? And if the latter is the case, is it something that mobile users would even be interested in? These are the kinds of things you have to decide, not just if websites for mobile devices are good in general. (This is slashdot, so of course you'll get the hypothetical/philophical answers to this general debate - but it doesn't seem to be what you want).

Not hard to do... (1)

kerrle (810808) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603280)

If your content isn't all static HTML and is actually available in a way that can be manipulated, making a stripped down version for mobile users really shouldn't be that hard.

As far as how many users would actually notice - I can't say. But since it shouldn't be a huge timesink, I don't see a reason not to.

This of course depends on the type of site;, for example, probably shouldn't attempt a full mobile store, but displaying current sale items or maybe (a much reduced version of) your account page so that you can track shipments wouldn't be too bad, and still offers customers some reason to visit.

Depends on the nature of your business (4, Insightful)

aztektum (170569) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603285)

I work @ Sprint and a lot of our customers that look at our PDA devices have been asking the sales people "Will it work with my bank site?" There is a demand, I think, for certain businesses to offer mobile access to accounts to pay bills and all that. However does say Intel really have a reason for a "mobile" site? Would General Motors need one? But if you're a service provider (cable, utility), financial institution, or a Google or Yahoo, then catering to a mobile audience at least partially, could be a bonus.

Not many... (1)

pe1chl (90186) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603286)

Just today I noticed a visitor with this browser string:

Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 4.01; Windows CE; PPC; 240x320)

No idea what he/she will actually see. Our site does not even support MSIE 4 anymore. But MSIE 4 on CE may be different?

We had 0.03% Windows CE visitors last year. I don't think I'll spend time on that.

I have a Dell Axim X51v (1)

Critical_ (25211) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603345)

My Dell Axim X51v is Windows Mobile 5.0 based with a VGA screen. It's output in my logs is as follows:

Operating System: Microsoft WinCE
Browser: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 4.01; Windows CE; PPC; 240x320)
Javascript: version 1.2
Monitor Resolution: 480 x 640
Monitor Color Depth: 16 bits

It would be nice if more people designed sites that worked on PDAs but, as other posters have commented, if my PDA has access then usually my ultra-portable laptop can too so I just use that.

Re:Not many... (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603509)

Opera has a small screen mode which shows how the web site would look with their mobile browser. That doesn't tell you how it looks with windows CE, but Opera is the most popular mobile browser, and squishing it down does give a pretty good guess at how it looks on other devices.

Re:Not many... (1)

pe1chl (90186) | more than 8 years ago | (#14605483)

Well, in "Small screen mode" in Opera it actually looks better than I expected. See []
It seems Opera partly follows the stylesheet, partly ignores it, in a way that makes the navigation still usable and the content readable.
It amazes me because the site was never designed for this.
I know that it does not work on MSIE 4 but I think MSIE version numbering is inconsistent across platforms (MSIE 5 on Mac is different from MSIE 5 on Windows, for example).

10th Piss Fuckwads! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14603296)

Moderators have their heads up their asses! Waste away your mod points on me the AC! Morons!

Re:10th Piss Fuckwads! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14603330)

The sad thing is that they probably will waste their points on you instead of modding up something insightful. The Slashdot moderation system isn't broken per-se; it's just that the moderators aren't educated enough. Kind of like the whole 2-party Democrat vs Republican shitfest we have every 4 years. Of course there are problems with the whole political process, so maybe that's not a great analogy, but you get the idea. So, as the parent said, waste your mod points on the ACs!

Re:10th Piss Fuckwads! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14603518)

There's plenty of modpoints to go around.

pretty simple... (2, Informative)

Run4yourlives (716310) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603335)

For most, simple CSS linked properly is good enough...
<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" media="handheld" href="/style/standard.css" />
Be sure to hide all the big images as well.

If you have a big audience on cells or pda's, you may want to optimize it a little more, doing things like putting a menu right at the top of the page, lot's of "back to tops", etc.

Once again, you won't be doing any of this without standards.

*sigh* (5, Insightful)

TrumpetPower! (190615) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603348)

Anytime anybody asks these kinds of questions, it's just a vivid demonstration of how clueless said person is when it comes to just what this Intarweb thing is.

Rather than beat you over the head with your misunderstandings, let me just skip to the chase.

Design your sites in this order, and you'll never be concerned with these kinds of questions again.

  1. Design your site in valid XHTML / HTML 4.0 / whatever that looks good in lynx.
  2. Knock yourself out with CSS to make it look fantastic in your personal favorite choice of Firefox, Safari, Mozilla, Konqueror, etc.
  3. Add just enough <!--[if IE]>blah<[endif]--> statements to make it look good in all versions of IE that're still supported by Microsoft.
  4. If somebody points out handheld devices, screen readers, etc., that understand CSS but do a poor job of rendering the CSS you used on your site, create a custom stylesheet just for them.

That's it. That's all there is to it. When you're done, you've got a Web site that looks great on all platforms and validates to all meaningful standards. And, if it weren't for Microsoft, you could reasonably forget the last two steps.



BING BING BING! We have a winner! (1)

schon (31600) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603470)

Almost exactly the comment I was going to post.

The answer to "should businesses have mobile friendly websites" is MU!

If the website is designed correctly, it will already be "mobile" friendly (as well as everything-else friendly).

Re:*sigh* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14603513)

There are two kinds of mobile devices. The PDA and the phone. While the above may work on PDAs, it won't work on most phones. You need a WML site for that.

Re:*sigh* (3, Insightful)

Eustace Tilley (23991) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603544)

I think you are a behind-the-times anonymous coward.

Opera Mini [] claims to support the vast majority of WAP-capable phones.

Re:*sigh* (2, Informative)

sych (526355) | more than 8 years ago | (#14605094)

But this is exactly the direction WML/WAP has gone in - the old WML is gone, and they've moved to XHTML.

CSS and "accept" headers will decide how the page is rendered, but you basically don't need to write seperate pages anymore - just follow the standards, and the useragent will render it appropriately.

Re:*sigh* (1)

Clueless Moron (548336) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603531)

Why is this not modded up to +5, Informative?

I regularly try to browse using cellphones and stuff like my pocket Zaurus 6000SL. Some sites, like, work perfectly. Most others give a blank page or something about as useless.

Dammit, it's not that hard!

Re:*sigh* (1)

yurigoul (658468) | more than 8 years ago | (#14605467)

From a designer point of view this is a very strange remark: I design my sites to have a certain width. I should be aiming for a 800*600 screen since there is still a high percentage out there that uses that size (not just old computers but far-sighted people like their screens at that size for instance), but sometimes I think forget it, I am doing a 1024*768 now (which results in a 900*500 or 950*550 page size).

Try reading that on a palm.

I used to have a Newton, so sometimes I think about how it would look on a smaller screen, but for me this is not doable. We will have to wait for those e-paper devices with big enough screens. Or maybe glasses that can be connected to our ipod/psp/xbox/smartphone/videocamera combinations with a terabyte storage you can use to boot any terminal with your own os.

(Those devices will come off course, and we will look back in awe at those bulky grey machines we used to call 'computers')

Re:*sigh* (1)

ishepherd (709545) | more than 8 years ago | (#14605893)

I design my sites to have a certain width

That's your problem right there. It's a bit dumb to assume that users are running at any particular resolution (or that they always run their web browser full screen).

If you drop this requirement your websites will scale to different devices much better.

Re:*sigh* (1)

yurigoul (658468) | more than 8 years ago | (#14605953)

In a nutshell that is the difference between designing and programming. I could program a site that does that, but as a designer I am an arrogant SOB and I want the visitor to see the site the way I intended it to. And you know what: I agree with myself :-)

Scalable design is very hard, and not rewarding because the sacrifices you have to make are to big: both sites will probably look like crap. I would end up designing two sites - and looking at things like usability and purpose of the site that would probably be the best solution: A small pen-based device needs another interface and serves another purpose because people are looking at different things (being on the road or just want to surf when nothing to do).

So, from a programmer perspective you can program the shit out of it to make it happen, but as a designer/editor I'm not interested in such a solution because it is not worth it. Two sites should be the answer.

Re:*sigh* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14606690)

n a nutshell that is the difference between designing and programming. I could program a site that does that, but as a designer I am an arrogant SOB and I want the visitor to see the site the way I intended it to.

Sorry, no. A good designer understands the properties of the medium he is working with. A sculptor doesn't ignore the brittleness of clay. A painter doesn't ignore the way paint hardens. A musician doesn't ignore the acoustics of the room he is recording in. And a web designer doesn't ignore the fact that their creation flows into canvases of varying widths.

You aren't a web designer, you are a print designer who hasn't noticed he isn't working with print.

Re: *sigh* (1)

gidds (56397) | more than 8 years ago | (#14606335)


yurigoul, repeat after me: THE WEB IS NOT A MAGAZINE. A web site is NOT about creating a pixel-for-pixel copy of your favourite design on someone else's screen, because you have no idea what their 'screen' is like, and they may have radically different design preferences from yours.

If you want something like that, use PDF. Or use image files. But that's not a web site.

Remember that my system may have a very different screen from yours. It might just have many more or fewer pixels; its resolution (pixel density) might be very different; it might have more or fewer colours available; it might even be text-only, or in audio or Braille or some other form.

Even if I'm using a fairly standard GUI screen, my browser window might not take up all of it. (And DON'T try to change the size; I set the window size for a good reason! Maybe I want to see something else at the same time. Maybe I hate really long lines of text. Maybe I have several sidebars up.) I may not be using the same fonts as you, in which case text may not take up the amount of space you expect. (Don't try to change my fonts, either! Your fonts might not be available on my system, or I may have much better ones that I prefer.) Don't assume that your adverts will take up any particular amount of space, coz I may well strip 'em out with AdBlock. Don't assume I'm using the same colours as you; I may find something else easier on my eyes (remember, my surroundings and ambient lighting are probably different from yours). Don't assume I want 50% of my screen taken up with a massive sidebar, and another 50% with a massive header. (I'm here for the CONTENT, for goodness' sake.) If you have links, don't do something stupid with JavaScript to hide their target: I won't visit links unless I can see where they're going. Don't assume I have a fast connection; if I see my PDA trying to download a multiple-MB Flash intro, I'll go somewhere else. (In fact, Flash intros are likely to sent me away anyway.) If you want scrollbars or other GUI widgets, use the real thing; don't assume I'm using XP, coz I'm not, and they'll just look stupid and probably won't work properly.

In short, don't assume ANYTHING about my system, my situation, my connection, or my needs! Your job isn't to force me to bend to your will. It's to provide a site that I can look at the way I want to. Because I will anyway, whether you want me to or not. And millions like me will.

Case in point: (A UK-based cinema chain.) The main site has always been IE-only: annoying menus bobbing up and down the screen, tiny grey-on-black text, faked text panels which scroll far too slowly, slow transitions... In short, the designers must have loved it but I certainly didn't -- and not only coz it was the only site I had to load up IE for. Apparently, though, all of our complaints have mounted up. Although the main site hasn't changed, they've added a subsidiary site which is much simpler and mostly text. That one works with all browsers, looks like it adjusts to all screen sizes, and is far far faster to load, navigate, and USE!

Now, if they'd thought to make an accessible site from the start, they'd have saved lots of bother, have a better final result, and wouldn't be in so many people's bad books.

Another case in point: Google. Back when they were the new kid on the block, one of their major selling points (apart from the great coverage) was the simplicity of their web site. One image, one text box, two buttons, and a couple of lines of text. Simplicity itself, worked everywhere, let you get straight on with the business of searching and then got out of your way. Compared with the bloated portals of Yahoo and Altavista, it was a real breath of fresh air, and I reckon it was one of the main factors in their success.

I think there's a lesson there for us all.

Re:*sigh* (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 8 years ago | (#14607437)

So you're one of those *****s (or a troll).

Do you know nowadays there are tons of people using displays with different width screens? Even many notebooks have widescreens nowadays with high resolutions that would make 800x600 look weird or require users to tweak their displays and sizes.

By the way, can you please explain why so many "web designers" like to use javascript for _links_, when they could just use normal HTML links? y'know <a href="....">link</a>

accessibility for disabled, too (1)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 8 years ago | (#14605761)

bang on, brother. design it right, and you'll also have something that disabled users can read and navigate successfully too. blind users with screenreaders can't use flash or crappily-designed webpages, for example.

It's a lot like accessibility. (4, Insightful)

anon mouse-cow-aard (443646) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603354)

How about making the site accessible for screen readers to assist the disabled. If you look into it, you will find that It has a lot in common with mobile users... Nobody can remember 15 menu items when they hear them, and then navigate back to them. Nobody can understand pages when they are described if they are too complicated.

You need to radically simplify presentation to make them comfortably usable by the bandwidth impaired, be it visual bandwidth in terms of vision, or using magnifiers, or using a PDA, or in terms of having the keep the structure in you head while listening to the page being

If the company is an Equal Opportunity Employer, and employees are expected to access the site, then they are pretty much compelled to make it accessible. You can
get PDA support for free riding on that.

Count 'em (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14603359)

(sorry to be Mr Bleeding Obvious here)

Four and one was me (1)

gmerideth (107286) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603367)

After redesigning our entire site I set about writing parts of it to work with my pocket pc screen. While the Ipaq I use leaves a lot to be desired for it's inability to render CSS it does do a fairly decent job with page data. I took our front page article feeds and made them available in limited text only format as well as the major practice area's. This way a casual browser to our ppc site would see basically the same info on our main page on their pocket pc. Once I can find uses for it we will add more features but so far of the users to our site, awstats shows 4 visitors with PPC devices and one of them was me. Was it worth it business wise? Not at all. Was it worth it programming/hobby wise? Sure.

Use CSS (3, Informative)

StonedRat (837378) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603372)

If your site is written properly, i.e. using CSS for layout, then at the very least you can simply disable CSS for mobile visitors, not very pretty but doesn't block any content. The best option would be to have a style sheet with it's media set to handheld to tailor the content they see. Hide unnecessary stuff, and format the rest in a compact fashion:

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

Opera is useful for testing these styles (Shift+F11) and the Web developers toolbar [] adds this feature to firefox. A very well made site compatible with handhelds is none other than [] , everything on their site has a well optimised handheld version.

Best practices and theory (3, Informative)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603380)

The theory is, these devices are quite common, and more people would use them if more sites supported them. I like Google Mobile, I use a handful of other sites that are compatible, including for Beyond TV (now that's a slick mobile site- it autodetects Windows CE and Pilot, and shrinks back to a subset that works wonderfully for finding a show you just heard about and scheduling it for recording to your home PC, which allows you to download it back to your device for later watching- completely cool closed loop).

Now for best practices- go light on the graphics, better if you MUST have pictures should be a link to the picture, not an IMG tag. Text only. Few people have the newer Windows Mobile 5.0 devices with the hi-res screen- think 240 pixels wide. These devices are great for vertical scrolling, bad for side scrolling. Keep entry to links or single field with a submit button- javascript may not work well, and typing is a real pain on these devices. Same idea with pictures- think 240x240 or 240x320 at most.

Support Opera on Nokia 6600 or lose my custom (0, Troll)

Eustace Tilley (23991) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603384)

50% of my browsing is mobile with a Nokia 6600 and Opera 8.51. If a site doesn't work with that, I don't bother coming back with a desktop browser unless I really, really have to - like to print out an airline bording pass.

It is not difficult.

Yet another "depends"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14603386)

Depends on the website. If it is likely to be used by people on the go, then yes, I'd say it was worth it. E.g. TFL [] (Transport For London) have a reasonable site that can be used by people on GPRS enabled mobile phones with the limited browsers they contain. You can lookup schedules and the best route from location(a) to location(b) for your needs. Very handy when you're in London and don't know the system well or need to know estimates of when you'll get somewhere. (the address is [] for the mobile friendly site)

Same for the UK rail network (National Rail - [] ) and at least some of the train companies.

Various other companies have cut-down sites for mobile use, although I have seen a few really disappointing ones (british airways comes to mind)

If, however, the website is for, say, a company that sells cardboard boxes and only deals in bulk orders from other companies, then I'd say the usefulness of a mobile site would be rather less.

What is sorely needed is a standard place to look for mobile content. Every bloody place is different!

Yes (4, Funny)

sulli (195030) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603405)

Yes, they should
make their web
pages small enough
for cellphone
users to read.

Re:Yes (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604141)

Definitely - doing that forces you to limit the amount of actual text on your pages, so your Graphics Design Team has more room to put it in dancing animated Flash content to decorate it!

Re:Yes (1)

Bazman (4849) | more than 8 years ago | (#14605235)

Ys. Thy shld mk
thr wb pgs sml enuf
4 mobe usrs 2 rd!

Most sites are so bad... (1)

topham (32406) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603409)

Most sites are so bad they won't collect much data from pocketpc users anyway. Nobody will visit twice.

First, browsers on PocketPC are horrific. My pocketpc has more ram available to it that most computers I used in the mid nineties, yet the browsers on them are horrible. (and I don't Just mean IE, although it's one of the worst).

I think the questions you should be asking are: Is the website such that users may want access to the information on something like a pocketpc. Is it a subset of the information, just employees/staff (think intranet).

Any movie listing site, for example, should support the widest range of access. I want to know what movies are playing when I am out and about. I could be in a restaurant and want to look up the listings. I don't really need an option to view a trailer though.

Is your site interactive? (2, Interesting)

Etcetera (14711) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603410)

The only things I've found myself doing on my mobile device (a small, underpowered, but nifty, Samsung i500-ph through Sprint) consist of:

* Reference lookups (ie, directions)
* News updates (Drudge is surprisingly accessible, and many blogs work too); I tend to do this after receiving a "Breaking News" SMS message from one of my local TV stations (
* Sites that use interactivity

To expound on the later, I run a couple of different "portal" type sites that allow me to log in, view profiles, and get information on other people. With that sort of customization available, we're creating mobile-friendly calendars, phone lists, photo galleries, and news updates, all to allow people to access things wirelessly and get "what they need."

If your website is basically a brochure, then no, you probably don't need a mobile-friendly site per-se (although you do need to make it WAI-accessible for the disabled). If your site has something to do on it that someone might want to do when they are away from a terminal, then by all means start developing. As someone else said, it's almost a chicken-and-egg problem. But once people see that they can access your features more conveniently, I'd wager you'll see usage improve.

Re:Is your site interactive? (1)

The-Bus (138060) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603886)

You hit the nail on the head. The OP is unfortunately asking a very broad question. It's like asking, "Do businesses need a website?" Depends on the business. Most could at least benefit. As far as mobile friendly websites, what's wrong with making a small, from-scratch HTML with just the basics? Contact info, directions, a news item or two. I would say people using mobile devices need access to information quickly. Graphics/etc shouldn't matter too much... for the time being.

Browsing with My Treo 700w (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14603418)

The Verizon network is quite fast and the screen is big enough to be useful and even pleasant IF the site is done correctly. I'm reading slashdot and responding now.

If there were more sites I'd be a happy man.

At the very least, a business site should have mobile friendly 'about us' and 'contact us' pages for people like me. I get real value out of this thing even though it costs $50 a month.

I'm sure I am a very desirable demographic for many businesses.

What is better... (1)

kurth (221375) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603420)

From the w3c's Mobile Web Best Practices 1.0 []

People have strong, but divergent opinions on this. The absolute minimum being 96 x 96 pixels. Strong support is expressed for 128 x 128, however a vocal group supports bigger still.

This article states that the most mobile users use thier devices for email and weather not browsing websites. []

Hope this helps....

Re:What is better... (1)

Ruliz Galaxor (568498) | more than 8 years ago | (#14605257)

There is a new version of the W3C's Mobile Web Best Practices [] . The Usable Screen Size is bumped to a width of 120 pixels.

no (1)

j1mmy (43634) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603424)

unless you deliver a mobile application on your site or target a mobile market, there's really no reason to support such devices.

How? (1)

Bob McCown (8411) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603434)

How do I insure that my site will be compatible with mobiles? Is there a program that will emulate the various handhelds that I can use to tweak my site?

Re:How? (1)

Eustace Tilley (23991) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603460)

Use View | Small Screen in a current version of Opera (8.51+). You can narrow the window to the pixel width you favor.

degrade gracefully (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603455)

A smart business should design their site to degrade gracefully, so that if not a fancy layout with color matching and floating transparent backgrounds, someone can at least get the info they need/want.

The only legitimate use for mobile Internet (1)

martinultima (832468) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603468)

I think the only time I've ever been able to tolerate a cell phone's Web browser (or a cell phone, for that matter) was during the summer when I used it to hack an MSN connection on my laptop [] . Long story short, it didn't really involve anything illegal, I just had to Google for a nameserver that would work. After that things were perfect, or at least as perfect as things can be on a dial-up connection... :-)

Since then the most mobile Internet-accessible device I've put up with is my slightly newer Dell Latitude CP with a NETGEAR 802.11b adapter – which is now replacing my old Micron XPE that I've had for years and years and years and years... don't get me started on all the horror stories I have of hacking Internet connections with that thing!

Thats if Your Carrier Lets you go Outside (1)

xoip (920266) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603477)

There are still some carriers that don't let you outside their "Walled Garden" so this just limits the potential market further and increases barriers to adoption.

imho... (1)

Soviet Assassin (815206) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603478)

they should ONLY IF there is a specific need. Like the company I work for (TDS Telecom) doesnt have (many) people accessing it from a PDA or mobile so there would be no need, just wait until you get home to your compy 386 or lappy 486. On the other hand, my little "company" would make use of something like that for server stats. I can design some wasteful bandwidth loathing website that lists all my stats or something small, quick, and to the point for my mobile or my pda. That could be useful. Yea, but close enough -- if you dont need it, dont bother. If you do, then do it or shut your corn hole. Mmm, corn..

Phone users != PDA users (1)

snib (911978) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603500)

It doesn't seem like there's going to be many users with Palms or Pocket PCs that aren't smartphones, so if you're going to develop a mobile version it makes sense to make it a cell phone version (meaning no JavaScript and only basic HTML or WML) rather than a PDA version. But unless your site has a reason to be frequently accessed by cell-phone users (such as that you might offer maps, phone numbers, etc) there doesn't seem to be much reason to develop a mobile version. I only use my cell phone web browser to get maps and info about what I'm doing. It's just too small for plain surfing. Users will probably be frustrated no matter what you do just because the screen is so small and most non-smartphones don't have a keyboard.

Re:Phone users != PDA users (1)

Eustace Tilley (23991) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603562)

meaning no JavaScript and only basic HTML or WML

Rubbish. Opera has made javascript available on cellphones.'s AJAX works on a Nokia 6600.

quaint question (1)

rodentia (102779) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603510)

<sneer accent="french">How naïve to imagine that software development is driven by market forces.</sneer>

Slashdot should be more mobile friendly also... (1)

GrpA (691294) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603525)

I used to read Slashdot every morning for a while on the train on my phone/pda. It's not very mobile friendly. Logging in is a pain, and although with graphics off it is bearable, it's far from ideal. Worse, is all the extra garbage that stills comes down with the text. There is a real case for some sites to be mobile friendly, but designers seem to want to make it all far too pretty, when all I really want is convenience. But when you do use a site that is mobile friendly, it's a snap to operate - especially if you have a touch screen as many new generation phones do. It's not like the designers need to drop to the lowest common denominator - most people who need the service are happy to find a higher level model. But even finding sites that support higher level models is difficult... And I truly wish I could do my Ebay-ing from the phone more easily... Ideal for bid-sniping. GrpA

Re:Slashdot should be more mobile friendly also... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14605854)

There is a mobile version of slashdot, although they don't advertise it (probably because it would cut down on their advertisiment revenue). Check it out. [] It is however limited in functionality.

All sites should be "mobile friendly". (1)

Onan (25162) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603563)

The only things you need to do to cause your site to be accessible by mobile devices are things that you should be doing anyway.

Don't assume anything about the client's display resolution, font size, inclination to display images, or willingness to use plugins, java, or javascript. Just write clean, correct html, and it will deal with diversity of client traits; that's one of the primary things that the language was designed to do.

If you choose to layer other froofraw on your site (eg, javascript, flash, images), that's fine, but make sure that it degrades gracefully and automatically when those are absent from the client.

The absolute worst thing you can do is write one narrowly-targetting monstrosity in flash, and then add a second narrowly-targetted monstrosity in wap. Just write one site correctly, and it will serve both these purposes--and next year's as well.

UK Opinion (1)

samrichards (663088) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603580)

Here in the UK, mobile web browsing is (I believe!) starting to become a lot more popular. And it is NOT a matter of simply creating an extra CSS stylesheet for smaller browsers - ever heard of WML?

Mobile internet has so much potential - the other day, on the train coming back from a meeting, I was able to watch decent quality (i.e. good audio and non-grainy pictures on a 2 or 3 inch screen) LIVE television. I can get over 300Kbps on my phone Internet connection and am able to do a lot of stuff a few years ago I woulnd't have thought possible. Sure, there are smaller screens, but since when did fancy graphics and wasted space == good content?

WHY? (1)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603634)

That's the question, why would someone want to go to your site on thier phone? Does it fit a need? Is it useful to the 'on the go' crowd?

Would I want to visit the site while I'm out with friends, while in another town, or waiting for a plane?

That's it. If you feel your potential client would, then I would go for it, but if you are met with a bunch of hypothetical maybes, then maybe it's not worth it.

How can we answer you without website Context? (1)

Sleepy (4551) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603741)

It was important enough to mention your client's boss wants a handheld-friendly website, but you neglect to mention what the website is all about. Context is everything.

Are you providing technology/services that can be managed by a web browser? Or is this a shopping cart for buying rocking chairs?

If you provide a web-based management interface for configuring customer services... something a technology consultant might actually NEED when equipped only with a handheld... then yes I can see the business case. It all depends how the case is framed.

Of course, if you have to generate each "site" from scratch, sans templates like "version 3" websites did 10 years ago, you're stuck. You can only adapt if you've outgrown "Photoshop Slice And Dice". If you have outgrown the Old Way of Doing things, you probably can support other interesting technologies like Section 508, Accessibility, and XML. These are all RELATED and development work done on these are cross-beneficial to the others.

Disclaimer: I browse -- almost daily -- on a Windows 2003 Mobile, a Samsung i-700. It would be foolish to advocate mobile browsing IMO without tying it to at least 1 other technology I listed above.. otherwise you are dead-ended on a browser-specific site that goes nowhere. You can imagine future content changes leaving the old handheld site behind.

business angle? (1)

zogger (617870) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603745)

Is there a search engine that returns "PDA friendly" websites on the top of the results? If so, that would help. If not, why not?

Depends on what your company's site is... (1)

TBone (5692) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603928)

The whole "users drive content"/"content drives users" (straw man) and "use CSS" (more in depth question) arguments aside, the larger question for me would be, is your site such in the marketplace that John Smith mobile user would come to it in his web browsing? If you're a company with something to offer John while he's driving down the freeway, maybe it's something you look into. If you're, say, a media development company, maybe John should go to his desktop, since a mobile version of your site wouldn't be either very effective, or of much use to someone browsing it.

If your client's CEO is the only person in the world who seems to be interested in browsing your company's site on a mobile device, then the cost factor makes the issue a non-starter. Even using CSS, someone has to develop the handheld CSS, then regression test your site against both the regular and the handheld versions. Now, if you have weblogs which indicate that you're getting X number of requests for your main site page, where X is some percentage that seems of interest to your IT group, then maybe you should consider it.

Final answer - is the mobile segment something that would bring users to your site?

From an avid cell user (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14604059)

I use a cell phone in three different countries- Canada, US, and the UK (prepay, but their data/wap rates aren't horrid). I also have "mobile web" or WAP access enabled on all of my phones- for one reason... When you're out a lot, you can't always take out your laptop to find out something simple like the weather, or who's playing what game when. But frankly... there's a lot to be improved on.

Here's an idea: Being able to check my TD Canada account via my nokia. I'd love to be able to see i have $62.50 in my chequing account without having to waste money at an ATM, or hauling out my laptop. Yes, I know, I could just use a data cable (no Bluetooth) and a PocketPC/Palm, but honestly, too much work

Frankly, with Teens (like me, a first year in University) becoming more and more technology savvy, things like WAP will gain more acceptance. Most people don't realize that using something like verizon's "GET IT NOW" is WAP based. And most kids can figure it out.

So what's stopping someone from really using WAP?

To reference the poster who talked about the "Duette"- they map out the net for you, and there's no "address" bar. Frankly, anything short of a smartphone has shit browsers and no access to anything short of what the provider gives you- it's there... just buried. If someone made a simple browser, and companies wrote simple wap pages, we'd be set.

Including Slashdot. Trying to read it from a PocketPC is death.

CSS, money, and reality... (2, Interesting)

cloricus (691063) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604139)

Look I write my pages in xhtml/css so porting to a small screen/device isn't much trouble at all so it really comes down to if they are going to pay me for it. If they do that's great and I'll do it...Though when you add reality mobile web browsers aren't in common usage because end users find them to hard ... Hell they find MSIE on their desktops to hard. So I can honestly see things like the Nokia 770 being the only type of device that really takes off for mobile browsing and it uses full page code anyway - with some extra Opera tweaks for large scale pages.

I personally like the idea of sites working on as many screens, devices, OSes, browsers as possible so I'd do it just for that warm fuzzy feeling that that 1 in 100000000 customers sees that you've thought of them and you gain +1 respect from them which could come in handy for their next purchase of a product like the one you supply. does mobile web design (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14604229)

This company is a mobile-only web design company: []

no (1)

akhomerun (893103) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604428)

i don't think so. it only encourages cell phone companies to keep their slow data networks.

but that isn't the primary reason for me. if my mobile device isn't capable of displaying full web pages (i.e. small laptop) then i see no point in a mobile device.

the two things I want to do on the go are
1. email/message
2. use the internet

of course, if you can do #1 (with java/javascript/dynamic pages/active content, etc) then you automatically can do #2

which is why i have yet to own a pda or smartphone. i think a 12inch ibook is small enough.

and some of those micronotebooks with pentium ms intrigue me. i think there's toshiba one with a 9 inch screen that still has 1024x768 resolution. and a full keyboard (well...a little small...but better than treo keyboards). seemed fast, affordable, too. it could even have a dvd reader if you just attatched a dock on the bottom which made it thicker. i think i'd rather have a brickish thing than a thin slab.

Can be done (1)

godglike (643670) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604553)

During the company re-branding last year I had to redo the website with new colours and images and layout and menus and everything. Since I used CSS obsessively it was reasonably easy to make a functional and relatively pretty website for mobiles as well. Just include a stylesheet of changes for media="handheld".

No phone will show anything worthwhile decently, get a PDA and use that as your aim. Also some very long/wide pages will need to be redone for the small screen, can't be helped I'm afraid.

Hope it helps

Main issue is over reliance on non-standard code (1)

lordmonger (950022) | more than 8 years ago | (#14606028)

My issue with websites are their tendency to over rely on IE specific coding, or to actively put in blocking mechanisms that do the "you can't use this site with anything but IE 6.0" stuff. Obviously, these won't work at all on a mobile device, even a PPC, since that version is only listed as 4.0. One of my banks does this now, and it really pisses me off that I can no longer check from my Zodiac 2 palm. Personally I tend to look at companies that do this as lazy, since there is always a way to code things that follow the xhtml standard and still get things done the way you want them for your site.

Maybe this is the wrong way to think about it (2, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 8 years ago | (#14606294)

I've often found myself resisting something that the boss wants because it not only fails to justify itself, it creates a long term maintenance burden.

And figured out later that while I was right in my narrow analysis, in the broader analysis I was wrong.

Sometimes solving a more general problem is easier than solving a specific problem. It's always more cost effective than solving an endless sequence of specific problems. If you keep an open mind, you often give the boss what he wants -- and more than he ever asked for. It seems to me that best web development practices would both help a great deal with this problem and with downstream maintenance. The reason we don't do the right thing most of the time is the pressure from management for quick results.

So, in that case what you have here is an opportunity. The boss has something in your purview that he cares about. Depending on how you frame this problem, you either have a pointless exercise in satisfying a CEO whim, or you have a CEO who has stumbled on the importance of separating content and presentation. If you treat it like the former, you're committing to a permenant doubling of effort on everything you do so that it will look nice on the CEO's PDA. If you treat it like the latter, you can make the CEO happy while reducing your downstream maintenance costs.

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