Depends on how much you know already. I've been mulling over starting a mobile site for a couple of months but have done very little. It doesn't seem complicated though.
The first step I took was to look at some existing mobile sites, a good list of quality mobile sites can be found here (the site is absolutely nothing to with me or any one I know):
Altenatively just type "mobile web pages into google and you will find other lists.
When I looked at the code behind a few of those sites they appear to be simple. And the layout of the sites is astonishingly similar. They should give you some ideas.
My mobile doesn't get the internet so just after Christmas I'm going to buy one of the poular mobiles which are good at dsiplaying online content - ipod, blackberry or google phone. Then I will be able to seee how the sites look on a small screen.
Next step will be to knock up a few pages to get some first hand experience. Then, start thinking about how to design the site, the content etc. I already have an idea of how the site might be used by mobile users.
I want to earn some money from the site so I will then investigate how to put Adsense on the pages.
At some point I need to understand how mobile phone users find sites, I'm not clear on that at the moment.
Apologies if that's all a bit basic, it's just my thoughts right at the outset of designing a site for mobiles.
[edited by: eelixduppy at 12:39 am (utc) on Nov. 19, 2008]
[edit reason] removed URL [/edit]
the actual building of the mobile site is quite straight forward. The main thing you need is to be able to detect when a mobile device is trying to view your site in real time - so you can then display an appropriate view. There are a few providers out there. Some with software downloads, and also opensource database services with all the devices listed.
We design for clients in the fmcg sector and have used handsetdetection.com for the last few builds.
That last post is interesting. It implies that mobile phone users assume that when they use their mobile, the website will identify that and give them a mobile version automatically.
But if I put myself in the positon of a mobile phone user, how do I know if the site I wants to access has a mobile version? Not so many sites have a mobile version at the moment. I could end up lookng at 5 sites on my mobile, none of which have a mobile version.
Do mobile users have other mechanisms for searching? For example, I'm in the local hardware supermarket looking for widgets but I don't know which one to buy. I want to access a few mobile-orinted sites to get an idea of the pros and cons of various widgets.
So, do I go to Google (which has a mobile version) and type in "reviews of widgets"? If so, I might never reach a site which has a mobile version. Or do I try and get mobile specific information and type in ".mobi reviews of widgets" for example? Or any other way of increasing my chances of getting content suitable for a mobile?
As far as I am aware Google search done on a mobile returns a list of mobile websites. You can then choose to include normal websites in the search results if your phone is capable of it.
|As far as I am aware Google search done on a mobile returns a list of mobile websites. You can then choose to include normal websites in the search results if your phone is capable of it. |
I was not aware of this. I just did a test desktop vs Opera mini 4.2. First site returned on both was a flash site. The phone chocked on it. This tells me that Google does not know not to serve flash sites to mobile web browsers.
So, even on the mobile version of Google they are serving SERPS with Flash in! That's a joke. I thought it was far more advanced.
I've got to get and get a decent mobile to experiment. Mobiles must be the way forward, but the catch is that I can't see how something like Adsense is going to make a decent return as it stands at the moment. But they will work out a way to make a buck or two (trillion) and I want to be there at the beginning.
That's mobile project #1
Create a search engine for mobile phones. With an interface optimized for mobile browsers and search results that include websites designed specifically for mobile phones.
Google's mobile search used to only return mobile results, but they changed it just over a year ago to return normal results. We run both mobile and "regular" web sites. When someone uses a mobile device to access a website, we give them the mobile version but give them the ability to flip to the full version. 10% stay with the mobile version, most goto the full version. The reason is people with older or basic phones that don't have speedy access or a big screen, don't bother browsing the web on their phone - there is no value in it. People with fast connections and big screens (iphone, bb) want the whole experience.
My recommendation: design a "regular" web site using full css. For mobile users, just use a different css stylesheet that formats the same content better viewing.
One caveat: I did notice that if you want to use AdSense for mobile, Google requires a cHTML or WAP website. I suspect they will change that.
Stajer, thanks for that gem of advice - it makes perfect sense but initially it appears to be counter-intuitive.
Check out the site that is run by the folks who administer the .mobi suffix. They have a basics section and emulators to test as if you were on common handsets.
Qwertydesign is right, mobile users expect things to work, and for the site to know that they are on a mobile device and automatically serve the correct version. Without the software, it is more difficult than it seems at first. The .htaccess file plays into this.
You will also need to change the depth of view to be a collection of a lot more 'shallow' short pages, instead of fewer larger 'deep' pages.