In my last blog post about building a mobile interface, I mentioned some of the challenges that I had come across while trying to design mobile-friendly web pages. Worst of these is the challenge posed by the fact that there is no standard screen size or resolution that you can take for granted. Also, the browser capabilities on different phones differ a lot. Given below are some of the Do's and Don'ts that my team has learned over a period of time to tackle this issue.DO (and I strongly recommend this) get your client to sign off on a list of devices that you're going to consider in your design effort. Many clients will add to the list you have already proposed and drive a hard bargain. But trust me, you will realize at the end of the project that the amount of time and effort you invested in convincing the client to sign off on a finite list of devices was well worth the effort. The mobile device market is booming and many of the upcoming mobile devices are quite different from the existing ones. And God help you if you are catering to markets outside the US. Especially, India or China, where there is a new model getting launched every other day. DON'T make extensive use of tables and nested tables in your web pages. Most mobile browsers out there are not very friendly to complex nesting of tables. The best way of creating a portal for the mobile world is by stacking sections one below the other. I prefer to design a simple home page that kind of lets you sample each of the sections inside the portal. Each of these section highlights are arranged one below the other as shown in Figure A. Clicking on the "More..." button will take you to the respective section page. Clicking on one of the links will directly take you to the details of the selected item.
This, of course, is by no means an exhaustive list. I will cover some more points in my upcoming blog posts. Meanwhile do share your experiences in designing web pages for mobiles in the comments.
Sankalp Waingankar (PMP, ITIL V3 F, MCP), has spent more than 11 years building web portals and web based applications for clients from different industry and technology domains.