Mobile Web Development
This week we are taking a look at developing applications or widgets for mobile devices. There are a few things to keep in mind when developing for mobile devices:
- Custom style sheets (CSS) for mobile phones putting links first, then content – this allows mobile users to get to the content faster
- Minimize text entry required – ease of entry is different for various devices and often difficult
- Avoid image maps – due to the required clicks on a specific part of the image and it may not be possible on all devices
- Implement location based services if needed to assist the user in locating you
Another good resource for creating pages for mobile use is called “Consider these design issues when developing mobile applications”. This pages offers advice to developers about items such as content, screen size, etc.
Google provides a page called “Android Developers” which describes the various articles, tutorials, etc. needed to make an app for the Android device. Windows has a similar site called “Windows Mobile Developer Center” which has all of the information you need to develop apps for the Windows Phone. Similarly Apple offers the site “iOS Developer” with similar information. I am sure that other phone manufactures like Blackberry have the same type of pages. What about those users who do not have these devices?
When developing for .mobi there are a bunch of resources out there for the web developer to follow. One such tool MyMobileWeb, offers an easy to follow guide when creating mobile based applications. “MyMobileWeb is a low-cost, modular, open-standards-based, open source software platform that simplifies the development of top-quality .mobi applications and portals, providing an advanced content adaptation environment. It includes different modules which cover all the basic requirements that must fulfill a complete and integrated mobile web site, hiding applications all the complexity related to dealing with multiple delivery contexts” (mobiForge). Google provides a great resource page for development of .mobi pages called “Developing mobile sites”. This Google site has links to validation tools which will validate your page to ensure it will work on mobile devices.
As a result, developers need to take a look at the cost/benefit when developing a page for mobile devices. If your page will likely not be viewed on mobile devices, the cost of development will outweigh the benefits. Similarly, if your site is heavily used by mobile users you need to invest in creating a usable and accessible site for mobile devices.
mobiForge. MyMobileWeb – An open source platform for developing .mobi-compliant applications. March 2007. 2 November 2010 <http://mobiforge.com/developing/story/mymobileweb-an-open-source-platform-developing-mobi-compliant-applications>.