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Designing Web sites for PDAs

most Web sites are not designed for PDAs

   
12:10 am on Oct 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I find most of the sites I visit on the Internet Explorer installed on my PocketPC Toshiba e750 (and other PDAs for that matter) are not designed for PDAs and are consequently more or less unusable. I design Web sites myself, and this applies to most of the sites I have designed. It doesn't apply to all of them. In at least one case, the text expands to fill the width of the PDA screen, and so although it is necessary to scroll down, it is not necessary to scroll across. I do not understand the reason for this. Can anyone explain why this happens?

I also notice that, because the text usually does not occupy the full width of the screen (but is bunched up to the left and only has about one word per line), the links (if there is more than one word) are broken, and do not seem to work.

Is there any expert on this subject who can explain how to deal with this issue?

6:53 pm on Oct 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Interesting development:

mTLD to enforce Web standards in .mobi

[uk.builder.com...]

6:57 pm on Oct 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ken_b is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



How are they going to enforce that?
7:20 pm on Oct 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Ya that mtld is pretty silly. I doubt it will get wide accetance.

Regarding the issue. Well, there are several ways to do it. I think the best one is to design according to current standards and heavily rely on CSS. Use fluid layouts vs. fixed layouts. Do not use heavy images. Use simple navigation. And the most important one: test, test and test again!

7:59 pm on Oct 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



In theory, I like the idea.

I spend ages surfing the net on a mobile device, find that nearly every site fails to render on my phone, and then the phone company want me to pay their bill for a service that I didn't get.

On a mobile device I guess bandwidth is charged at, at least two Dollars per Megabyte.

Enforcing standards is out of the control of my phone company (unless they simply block me from accessing non-conformant sites), it has be be done at a much higher level...

10:42 pm on Nov 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I think this will soon be one of the most relevant topics for designers and a trend for users.
What I think is needed, and it may already exist, I don't know as I have just begun my research into this arena, is a redirect for mobile devices.
In the meantime a standard top left link to a mobile friendly site might help.
3:40 pm on Nov 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

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You shouldn't need to redirect anything. Just create a separate style sheet with
media="handheld"
.
12:25 am on Nov 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

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So does media="handheld" cover all pdas, cellphones, and the like?
8:12 pm on Nov 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

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It would depend on the browser on the PDA, etc., to request that if it were available. I've only had experience with one handheld-specific browser (Blazer on a Palm), so I can't speak authoritatively. But I would assume that most if not all handheld-specific browsers would request it.
9:24 pm on Nov 22, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I was thinking about buying a PocketPC and doubling it as my cell phone. A lot of cell phones can access websites, so that's why I posed the question.
11:54 am on Dec 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

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"So does media="handheld" cover all pdas, cellphones, and the like?"

Kind of, I had a trouble getting my css/xhtml working on Pocket IE, because Pocket IE DOES support css.

However Pocket IE also loads ALL stylesheets regardless of wether they have the media="handheld" or not.

The trick to get it working is to have a stylesheet for media="handheld" that CANCELS OUT all your floats, width etc etc last.

Pocket IE will then load all stylesheets and the final one will cancel out your screen based styling.

5:56 pm on Dec 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Does it understand all of the IE hacks?
11:26 am on Jan 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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The solution can be to build better browser software so that 90% of the websites or more becomes accesable. As a result more people will start using it so more webmasters wil make their site available for these mobile browsers.
8:35 pm on Jan 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Yes that is the better solution, but we don't built the browsers, just the websites.