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What is Mobile Optimisation?


Nearly everyone owns a mobile phone nowadays. The use of mobile phones is no longer limited to just making calls or sending SMS messages. It’s been years since mobile browsing was introduced but it has gained popularity, with the potential to overtake desktop web browsing, only recently. Telecom networks are designing plans that include mobile browsing, and the latest phone models have Wi-Fi and 3G features.

The increased use of mobile browsing presents a challenge for many companies to begin adapting towards a new marketing strategy, and it all starts with mobile optimisation.

Mobile optimisation is the process of designing a website that appears better and loads faster in mobile devices. Websites are usually designed using desktop computers and are meant to be viewed in large computer screens. When these are accessed in handheld devices, the text appears too small and the graphics take long to appear. Since more and more people are using their mobile phones to browse the web, mobile optimisation should be a priority for companies, especially those whose site is a key to their marketing campaigns and promotional activities.

The first key step in order to optimise websites for mobile browsing is to create a mobile subdomain for the web page. Most people already know mobile subdomains can be accessed by appending “m”, for mobile, to the beginning of a web address. The subdomain can be designed similar to the main site but with custom CSS files compatible for mobile browsing, or it can be have a totally different design. Mobile compliant subdomains are developed in such a way that when a mobile device is used for web browsing, the custom CSS files will automatically be loaded.

Designing mobile web pages can be a little a tricky because handheld devices come in different sizes. The best way to optimise web pages according to varying screen sizes is to use a liquid layout that adjusts to the size of the screen of the mobile device being used. Using percentages instead of pixel sizes will accomplish this. Another way to optimize the layout is to let HTML render by itself by not defining the layout size in the CSS file. However, the webpages may not appear well on the screen.

In optimising sites for mobile devices another consideration is with the content itself. Large screens can show many different web parts; several panels can be used in the layout. This is not the case with mobile web pages. Mobile web pages should be designed much simpler because slower mobile internet connection means web pages load slower, especially those that are filled with graphics, pictures and similar content. Some mobile pages today are linear in design, with contents showing as a list in a single column. This is perfect for mobile browsing both in terms of loading and page utilisation.

People never leave home without their mobile devices because they serve many purposes, one of which is web browsing. Companies should ensure that people can access their mobile pages clearly and quickly so as not to lose marketing opportunities. Companies should optimise their websites to accommodate mobile browsing today.