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The future of mobile website development - Responsive design, HTML5 are key to retaining visitors
7:46 am , August 24, 2011

The future of mobile website development – Responsive design, HTML5 are key to retaining visitors

As we continue to invest time into research and development, it’s becoming more apparent that the digital mobile landscape is evolving. More and more people are using mobile devices to browse the web and access information on the go. It seems like only yesterday i wrote an article on “The increasing need for mobile compatible sites” but since then a lot has changed meaning perhaps a new approach is emerging.

At the time my original post was written smart phones were starting to take a lead in the mobile market but as time goes on it wont be long before all mobile devices are smart phones with advanced browsers and rendering capabilities. This coupled with the evolution of CSS3 and HTML5 support means that devices are now more capable of displaying a standard website thus rending the mobile site almost useless.

As much as I hate to backtrack from a previous post, moving forwards I think designers and developers need to consider scalability within their sites, allowing for different resolutions right down to 320px by 480px. We are starting to see more cutting edge developers take this approach and I must admit it’s my preferred option when viewing sites on my iPhone.

A Compelling Argument:

  • A recent research done by the IAB suggested that 61% consumers won’t revisit poor mobile sites
  • The number of UK consumers who accessed a retail site using their mobile in the three months ending May 2011 increased by 163 per cent compared to the same period last year
  • Around 27 per cent of adults and 47 per cent of teenagers in the UK now own a smartphone
  • At least 37 per cent of adults and 60 per cent of teenagers claim to be ‘highly addicted’ to their smartphones, with 81 per cent of smartphone users leaving their phones on at all times.

Source: http://www.iabuk.net

It’s clear that the market place for mobile compatible sites is growing faster than predicted but the best way forwards to attract this new marketplace is something that needs more deliberation, simply creating a cut down site with limited functionality and a maximum screen width of 480px is not really going to allow you to stand out from the crowd.

A possible solution
The answer is “Responsive Design”, as mentioned earlier this technique uses CSS3, HTML5 and a bit of clever planning to design a site where the areas of key content can be easily rearranged to make the best use of the screen real estate regardless of the screen site, the design responds to the conditions and parameters it’s given.

I won’t go into the technical detail about this specific technique as there are many sites offering this information. This blog post is intended to provoke thought in the way we approach tackling the smartphone user base and the methods we employ to offer a cutting edge and sophisticated browsing experience.

Hopefully more sites will take this approach moving forwards, I know the team here are already investigating this approach and will be putting our skills to good use over the next few months!

Source: Soak Digital
Author: Adam Collison
Full article: www.soak.co.uk/blog/the-future-of-mobile-websites/