Mobile Web Design: Developing Websites for Smartphone's & Tablets in 2015

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Nearly two-thirds of Americans are now smartphone owners, and for many these devices are a key entry point to the online world.

Most people are accessing the internet through mobile devices like tablets (Ipad) & smartphones (Android/Iphone) - the numbers of mobile users in increasing phenomenally. When designing your website, you should always remember to think about mobile users and their needs - with your #1 focus being "Will your website function on a tablet or cell phone?"

HTML Coding Mobile Devices, Tablets and Smartphones

First of all, you should remember that sites and apps are different - regardless of the fact they are both accessed from the internet on mobile devices. The programming (depending on your mobile website designer) and coding is done differently for mobile devices unless you are using a CMS like Wordpress who's coding remains the same to the developer/designer.

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Programming Mobile Web Apps - iOS & Android

Apps are normally stand alone programs that are created for a particular device, operating system or platform - like iOS or Android. A web developer/designer has to program different but similar versions of your mobile app for each platform, and Apple requires their apps to be approved before they can be sold or downloaded. Apps are usually programmed in languages like Objective-C or Java.

Most websites created these days are HTML websites which are more likely to be accessible on all devices that have a web browser. Website usually function in combination with server programming like PHP and client side programming such as JavaScript.
Here are some important things to consider when designing Mobile websites:

1. Don't use Flash elements like you would on the desktop version of your website. Flash does not show on mobile devices and could make your mobile site not function properly. Especially if your entire site is built using flash like a lot of Wix.com sites.

dont-use-flash-for-mobile-devices-design

Many of the effect created with flash and sliding content can be recreated with JavaScript programming. You should always try to use all HTML coding to avoid these issues.

2.
Keep in mind that there is no hovering on mobile devices. On your desktop computer most users are familiar with hovering over tabs or menu items and having a drop down appear or the link or picture changes.



Users cant hover on mobile devices - either their finger is on the device or its not - this means that your drop down menus will not display. For mobile devices, you must code your page to be clicked on the menu item of choice and have an option to select the page you are enquiring about.

You should always consider simplifying your navigation choices whenever possible when designing your site for mobile use.

3. Remember that contact forms or any other kind of form on mobile devices are generally challenging. Typically users don't like filling in forms anyway, you should always keep in mind that simpler is better and only use forms when absolutely necessary.

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4.
Mobile screen resolutions vary and are constantly changing and are different than standard computer screens.
Its best to design mobile websites specifically for the type of device it is being viewed on . Meaning you will have to create multiple versions of your site that the user will be redirected to depending on the type of device they are using. The redirect will happen inside the coding automatically once it has been implemented.

website being viewed on multiple mobile devices with different screen resolutions

We put together a list that shows the screen resolutions for most of today's smartphones and tablets.

http://www.binvisions.com/articles/tablet-smartphone-resolutions-screen-size-list/

They range from "2048 x 1536 pixels" tablet, all the way up to a "240 × 320 pixels" Smartphone  (which is typically a higher res than most laptops")

Keep in mind that whilst higher resolution may allow more of the site to diplay on the screen at one time, that doesn't mean that the site is big enough to click on or read. In this case higher resolution isn't always better.

Because mobile phones have smaller screens, scrolling is almost always going to be needed.
Luckily tablet and Smartphone users are already familiar with zooming in and out to view webpage content.

5. Keep in mind the speed and connectivity issues on mobile phones - a webpage with tons of pictures will not load as quickly and may time out while loading.

speed-testing-your-mobile-website

Its all up to you whether you want to use the same website to be served to all users or create/design mobile sites that can be viewed on any device. Usually that decision falls on what kind of website you need, what you customers use it for and what kind of experience you want them to have.

To get an idea of what kind of mobile site you would like to build visit Awwwards post on Mobile Web Design Inspiration.

If you would like to try your luck at building your own mobile site, here are a list of sites that offer free do it yourself mobile website building:


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List of companies that build mobile friendly websites that are compatible with Smartphones, Tablets and any other mobile device:

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