Designing Your Site for Mobile Users - dummies

By Richard Wagner

Part of Creating Web Pages All-in-One For Dummies Cheat Sheet

With the power of smartphones and their fully functional mobile browsers, mobile visitors expect to have a satisfying browsing experience. You’ll want to fully consider the mobile user in your design and determine the level of support you want to provide for them:

  • Basic compatibility: The first level of support is simply making sure that your Web site is viewable and operable inside a mobile device. If your Web site is using standard CSS formatting and HTML structures or if it is built using popular online tools (WordPress, Posterous), your Web site is probably already set up to support smartphone browsers.

  • Mobile friendly: The second level of mobile enablement is to make sure your Web site is easy to navigate on a small screen. One of the most important ways to make your site mobile friendly is to structure the pages into columns. Columns help prevent users from being forced to read wide chunks of text that cause them to scroll left and right to read each line of a Web page.

  • Mobile styling: A third, richer, and deeper level of support that you can provide mobile users is to incorporate styling specifically targeted for mobile devices.

  • Companion site: There may be some specific cases in which you need to go beyond the page structure and styling. In this case, a final level of support is to design and structure a site from the ground up in a manner that is optimized for mobile devices.

If you offer a mobile version, always allow users the freedom to choose between the mobile and normal versions of your Web site. While you may default to the mobile style sheet for your mobile users, provide the functionality on each page to view the site normally.