Going Mobile: Development and Preparation

December 1, 2006

Topics: Accessibility, Web Development.

I’ve just had an article published at Accessites, the accessible design showcase where I’m also a site reviewer. The subject is about mobile design: what kinds of complexities you can encounter when attempting to design a site with wide-ranging mobile compatibility. I’m also dealing with accessibility — there are numerous areas where mobile development and accessible design overlap, and it can help your development process to keep these ideas in mind.

Accessites doesn’t support comments, so after you give the article a read, feel free to discuss here!

9 Comments on “Going Mobile: Development and Preparation”

  1. I can’t help but suspect that any recommendations for mobile support devices are likely to be somewhat suspect – given the strong “unknown” factor in mobile expectations.

    Still, even if the known capabilities of the browsers and hardware are completely a mystery, one would greatly prefer that the recommendations be somewhat stringent!

  2. It is not so much PNG (Portable Network Graphics)-8 format itself as it has been well-supported since version 5.xx in desktop browsers. Though the Recommendations are queer with regards to Mobile User Agents – in several areas – I suspect in practice most modern mobile agents would naturally cope.

  3. .png support has been sadly variable for a long time – although I was not specifically aware of issues with handheld devices.

    It is a relatively new format on the scene, so it’s hopeful that newer devices will continue to build support for them!

    Thanks for that comment – it’s a good thing to be aware of in mobile development.

  4. Image support for mobile User Agents is an interesting one; most recommendations suggest JPG and GIF (Graphic Interchange Format) are required formats. However for some peculiar reason not PNG (Portable Network Graphics) whereas it usually produces smaller files sizes than GIF and PNG has text annotations capacity.

  5. Thoroughly enjoyed it Joe. Keep ’em coming…

  6. Absolutely – you can’t open a new tab and look at something else while you’re waiting – because in my experience when I’ve needed Internet access away from the desk it’s for something that if I have to wait for then I’m simply wasting time. There is nothing else I can do. For example looking up maps, checking a review before buying something or getting an address while at the post office ready to post something – all things I’ve used my mobile device for in the past couple of weeks.

  7. Thanks for your comments, Nathanael!

    It really does make a world of difference to a mobile user for a site to be considerately designed. If you’re using a mobile browser, you’re on the move: you need the information now, not “in 10 minutes, when it’s done downloading.” Planning accordingly is totally worth the time!

  8. I never used to really care about mobile devices – but now that I own a half-decent mobile device (not a beta WAP thing from 5 years ago) and actually use mobile browsing on the road, I’m starting to consider more the importantance of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) for mobile devices – I’ve had plenty of grief trying to access sites that can’t be viewed on a mobile device because of combined image file sizes of over half a meg, frames, mile long scroll bars etc.

    Good article!

  9. Excellent article Joe. Thank you for writing it.