How to create Mobile Websites

December 6, 2010

It’s a Mobile World, no doubt about it, and every second that passes by even more, with over a thousand more mobile phone users being added to the global community per minute. Mobile Web access has been accelerating since 2007 with the advent of multi-touch smartphones, and more recently since 2010, with the emergence of multi-touch tablet computers. Both platforms are designed for better Internet access and browser and application-based user Internet experiences than any devices from previous generations.

Not many people could have predicted this surge on mobile users, and that’s probably why so many websites are unprepared for this new wave of visitors. Even though today the total number of mobile users accessing the internet is greater than those using a computer, there are still many interoperability issues due to the number of different and often incompatible mobile devices, mobile operating systems, and mobile browsers, as well as usability problems derived from physical factors, such as limited resolution screens, aspect ratios, and user operating limitations inherent to the small size of the mobile devices. All these requirements and limitations make the process involved in designing and developing mobile websites fundamentally different from the methodology involved in the creation of traditional ones.

There are several approaches that can be used when creating a mobile website. One is to start from scratch, independently from the main current website, if there’s one online. WAP, WML, or even HTML formats can be used. However keep in mind that WML cannot be run by default on all Web hosts, so make sure to ask your Web host provider first, as the Web server needs to be configured before you can deploy a mobile site using WML.

WML stands for Wireless Markup Language. Although it is inherited from HTML, WML is based on XML, so it is much stricter than HTML and more limited in terms of features and tags. A WML document consists of a header like the following, that declares the type of document and its WML standards:

<?xml version=”1.0″?>

Pages in mobile websites are called cards, and they are declared as follows:

<card id=”main” title=”Testing a new Mobile Site” newcontext=”true”>

This makes a card that has the ID “main” used for linking purposes, which will display the following title text on top of the screen:

Testing a new Mobile Site

Fortunately HTML can also be used to create mobile websites. Software like Adobe Creative Suite 3 and up, which comes bundled with Adobe Device Central and Dreamweaver CS3, makes it fairly easy to implement HTML thanks to its support of the XTHML Mobile protocol and its targeting of different mobile devices. However, it would be very difficult to support all the available devices available, so the best solution is to keep the HTML code as simple as possible to make sure it is compatible with as many mobile platforms and mobile devices as possible.

If you do not have the time or patience to learn new coding practices, then consider hiring a firm like RackNine that specializes in mobile website design. We also provide for seamless integration of mobile code into Content Management Systems such as WordPress, by using “brave new code” such as WPtouch, a Canadian-made extension that lays the code foundations of websites compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, Android, Opera Mini, Palm Pre, Samsung touch and BlackBerry Storm/Torch, and other mobile devices.

The advent of a great number of web accessible mobile devices over the past year means that if you currently do not have a mobile website, you are potentially losing out on a huge stream of visitors. The creation of an efficient mobile website has become a necessity to anyone serious about online marketing who wants to stay one step ahead of the competition.

RackNine can help you adapt your website for viewing on any kind of mobile device.

For more information please Contact Us.