What Do You Mean By Mobile Website Development
With the exponential rise in number of Smartphone users in recent years, desktops and laptops have become secondary devices to access internet and gain information. More than half of the visitors on a particular website have browsed it via a handheld device. Representation of websites on mobile phones might not be exactly the same as to the one viewed on the desktop/laptop. This is because the developers of those websites have created a ubiquitous platform to deliver content to mobile devices.
A standard ‘mobile experience’ can be split up in two basic components:
• Small screen device experience
• Lower bandwidth experience
However, the interesting thing about the two experiences is that they do not always appear together. They are two separate problems – or opportunities. Mobile devices does not always mean mobile. Usage on mobile devices is higher over a Wi-Fi network as compared to cellular networks. This ironically makes the mobiles devices stationary and consumes higher bandwidth. Thanks to the surge of tablet devices and phablet devices, small screen device experience is not always small.
There are three major configurations to support mobile website development for smart phones as well as feature phones. These are – responsive design, dynamic serving and separate mobile site. Responsive design enables the developers to determine how the content is rendered on the user side. Dynamic serving detects user’s device and redirects it to different HTML for the same URL. Separate mobile site redirects users to a different URL based on their device.
Catering to mobile device users leads to another tough decision that developers have to make – mobile app or mobile website. While mobile apps have a great advantage in providing better user experience, they usually cost a bomb to the company as compared to developing mobile websites. On the other hand, creating website compatible to mobile devices is easy but functions and features that can be allowed on the website are limited. Furthermore, making a native app that works on a particular OS will be different for others. That means developers will have to recreate individual apps for various platforms. There will always be some amount of sacrifice between what users want and what developers can offers at the moment. The time and effort required to meet the needs of users are in descending – unique mobile app, dedicated mobile website, adaptive layout and simple tweaks.
Progressive enhancement in mobile website development is a practice of developing websites in a layered fashion which allows any device to access the content regardless of its capabilities. This means users are not given just one ideal experience but multiple less-ideal experiences depending who views it.
Mobile development is not just about cross-browser experience; it can well be cross-platform experience as mentioned earlier. Not all phones are equal, so it is better to present the best, most flexible and equivalent design – it need not be identical. The only way to ensure best user experience for the website is by testing the initial build extensively.