jimh009 - 9:40 am on Jan 8, 2011 (gmt 0)
Let me preface this by saying I'm probably the last person in the USA who doesn't own a cell phone. Indeed, the only cell phone I've ever used is my mother's phone - and she bought it back in 2002. Thus, my knowledge of smart phones and wireless phones in general is basically non-existent.
Still, I know how to code websites. And one of my content sites that performs well covers a topic that is ideally suited for mobile users. A second site of mine also has at least a few pages that are ideal for mobile users, too.
Thus, I've taken the leap and registered the sub-domains for these sites (using the m.mydomain.com Brett suggested in another post).
I have a number of questions that I was hoping either some mobile site developers, or simply power users of these phones, might be able to answer.
1. What Is the Ideal Resolution to Use? This is my biggest question. Scanning my logs, I see the most popular mobile resolution to currently browse my site (which accounts for about 1-2% of all traffic), is 320x480. However, there is a massive variety of small resolutions it seems. So, what resolution should I design for?
Additionally, I noticed that many smartphone users use their phones horizontally - essentially shifting the resolution to 480x320. Do these phones automatically "shift" the web page, or might I be better advised to design a mobile site for this wider resolution and let the phone itself scale down the resolution for when the user keeps the phone vertical?
Finally, a final question regarding resolution. Are smartphone resolutions like computer monitors today - in that the resolution seen in the webmaster logs doesn't reflect the actual screen resolution the user sees when using the phone. Or to phrase it another way, do I have to worry about scroll bars, status bars, etc, when coming up with the right resolution to use for mobile site development?
2. PHP, XML, HTML? I use Dreamweaver to create all pages for my sites, and all pages i create are .php pages (although they aren't necessarily dynamic, "created on the fly" pages). However, I've read in various places that XML or HTML is preferred for mobile sites. Yet Google Adsense says use the .php extension for all pages (I'm an Adsense publisher), at least if you plan on running the Google Adsense for Mobile Devices Ads.
Thus, I'm lost on this. Suggestions?
3. CSS. I've read conflicting information on this. Some websites on mobile development say you can safely use "some" CSS. Other sites say to stay away entirely from the use of CSS, especially an external stylesheet.
So what's a guy to do when it comes to mobile devices and CSS?
4. Colors. Is it safe to assume that the Webmaster isn't forced to use "web safe colors" for smartphones and other mobile devices? I tend to gravitate toward web safe colors if only for simplicity, but still it's nice to know I can break free of them when needed.
Is there anything special I should know about when it comes to color use for smartphones and mobile devices?
Thanks for any help on this. I'm also very open to any other suggestions or comments people might have when it comes to developing a small, mobile website.