Home » Internet » Web Development

Designing Websites for iPhone Viewing

Dec 1, 2007
How would your website look on a hand held device? Is it easy to navigate? Is the most important information readily available to your visitors? Is your website "mobile Web" ready?

Ten years ago most small business owners didn't have a website and probably didn't see the need for one. Now, a business without a website is considered second rate at best. A website is a necessity for doing business in the 21st century. Also a necessity in the 21st century is a website that can be easily viewed on a hand held device.

According to the latest statistics, only 11% of Americans are getting their news and information using the browser in their mobile phone. That doesn't seem too impressive until you look at the enormous popularity of Apple's new iPhone and realize that "the times, they are a changing." In the next few years, the popularity of surfing the net on your mobile Web is going to skyrocket.

Hand Held Devices Are the Future

Mobile devices are the future of the Internet. According to a November 27, 2007 article in the New York Times, "More than 30 companies have signed up for the Open Handset Alliance from Google, which aims to bring the wide-open development environment of the Internet to mobile devices." If Google is getting involved in this effort to broaden the use of the Internet on hand held devices, you can be sure that this is not just a passing trend.

The incredible popularity of the iPhone is leading the way to a new website platform for businesses. As the Web technologies for mobile devices continue to improve, more and more people are going to be using their iPhone or Blackberry to connect to the Internet. However, even though the improved Internet navigation capabilities of the iPhone make it easier for users to connect to the Internet, there is still one big problem with mobile devices. Small screens make for difficult viewing.

Most Websites Look Terrible on a Mobile Device

Unfortunately, shrinking a website to fit on the screen of an iPhone or a Blackberry usually leads to difficulty viewing and finding information. A smart business owner will make sure their website can be viewed easily on both a desktop and a mobile device.

Here are some pointers in getting your website mobile ready:

*Don't use flash. The screen is too small and flash is just plain annoying. Besides, the iPhone browser doesn't support flash.

*Get a .mobi extension for your website. Available since September 2006, over 500,000 .mobi domains have been registered. Go Daddy and Network Solutions both offer .mobi registration (and mobile specific site building tools).

*Use easy to read fonts. Make sure your website uses Verdana or Ariel fonts. Also use black fonts on a white background; the greater contrast makes for easier viewing.

*Keep it vertical. On a mobile device the user can only move up and down, not sideways. Your website content needs to be set up so that most important information is centered within the website.

*Keep the costs down. Unfortunately, using a mobile Web is not a flat rate in most situations, so users are looking for information quickly. Help them out by using informative headlines, subheadings and bulleted lists. Don't make them go deeper into your website to get answers.

*Design for simplicity. A small screen is difficult to read, so you may need to reconsider the look of your website. A graphic dominant website is probably not a good choice for a small screen. Streamline the look of your website and concentrate on the message. Zero in on what specific information your customers need and give it to them.

*No second chances. On a regular website, you can move around with a back or forward button. On a hand held device you only have a stop button. So, you need to get it right the first time and make sure your website has the right answers.

Conclusion

Getting a website mobile Web ready may include redesigning the current site or completely building another site just for the mobile devices. Each business owner needs to evaluate the situation and make choices depending on what they want to accomplish. But whether you make changes or not, the Internet is moving off the desktop into the hands of your customer. Now is the time to get a jump on the competition.
About the Author
Michelle Howe, MBA, president of Internet Word Magic, specializes in writing irresistible copy for websites. Transform the way you do business. Visit her website at http://www.InternetWordMagic.com for a FR^EE chapter download of her new book "Turn Browsers into Buyers".
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 260
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories