Sunday, January 17, 2010

Is Your Website Ready for the Mobile Web?

As the use of cell phones and smart phones expands, so do the number of options for consumers to discover and interact with brands. From web browsing to email to social networking and even shopping, more people are using their cell phones as portable computers. However, most sites are not optimized for hand-held devices such as cell phones.
There are really two things to consider; web site design and how customers are going to find the web site through mobile search.
How do you design for the mobile platform? The good news is that in most cases, you don’t need a separate site, you just need a cascading style sheet (CSS) attached to your website that feeds up specific instructions to a mobile browser. For the most part, mobile browsers are a lot like the web used to be; mainly text and links.

When designing your CSS for handheld web browsers, here are a few things to consider:

  1. You have very limited screen real estate. About 2×3 inches or so.
  2. All fonts should be in their most basic format. Forget about color and typography.
  3. All images should be striped out, unless they are absolutely necessary.
  4. Remove all advertising as you already have limited screen space.
  5. If you don’t need it, hide it. Remove any Google Friend Connect, Facebook Fan Box or other third party services. Focus on your content.
  6. Remove all background colors. Basic black text on a white background is good.
  7. Create basic forms, if you choose to keep them. My advice would be to remove them and just showcase the phone number. They are on their cell phone after all.
  8. Remove Flash, Java and any plug-in content unless absolutely necessary.
  9. All in all, simplify.