Internet Must Change for Mobile Use - Making the Transition
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A few companies have already begun to understand what potential there is. Googleís and Yahooís local features are available for people trying to find places while on the road. Even sites not aimed for traveling people, such as news sites like OSNews, are making their sites work on small devices. The more that websites see the benefits of reaching mobile users and begin reaching out to them, the more people will browse their PDAs and phones and raise the demand.
When web developers decide to make the transition, they must decide if they are going to trim or complicate their website. The little devices don't like large or numerous images, complicated coding like Flash, or multicolumn pages. Some problems could be addressed by using a simple CSS layout and making an optimized CSS for mobile users. Still, websites that include bulletins or FAQ in PDFs will have to decide if they want to eliminate the need for internet-unfriendly Acrobat software and simply use web code to display the information. Websites that exclusively use Flash navigation will need an alternative.
In this sense, designing for mobile users could trim the internet down a degree and reduce crowded sites demanding plugins for access to information. Of course the other option is to make websites more complicated by designing a whole new version of the website for mobile users. This may make sense for sites that require interactivity or viewing images to a proper scale, like those local search engines mentioned earlier. However, for sites that simply archive news and data, it seems redundant to maintain multiple versions of the site.
If you are going to design something mobile-compatible, there are some details to keep in mind. Consider the potential of style sheets. CSS can clear up a lot of issues, like bloated HTML and the formatting of your content on different browsers. It can help with designing for these small devices by using media="handheld" and creating a separate stylesheet for these users (though needless to say this isnít going to be a CSS tutorial). Make sure your page isnít designed with frames, though how many sites use frames anymore? Table in generasl can turn into a big mess, especially complicated table layouts and nested tables, so itís best to try designing a mobile userís page without them. As mentioned earlier, if you intent to use plugsin, be sure to have an option for browsers to not use them.
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