Our services: mobile web optimization

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The use of smartphones and touchpads to access the Internet has been increasing at a rapid pace. In the foreseeable future, website access via mobile devices will exceed the use of desktop and notebook computers. Unfortunately, most websites have usability problems on tablets and are extremely inconvenient to use on smartphones. Customer-focused organizations need to be where their customers are, which means providing complete support for mobile devices.

Developing Your Mobile Strategy. Mobile optimization should begin with a thoughtful discussion of how your customers' information needs may change when they are using their tablets or smartphones compared to when they are sitting at their desks. For some organizations, there may be few differences. For others, there may be significant changes in user priorities. In some cases, it may be advisable to exclude certain desktop-optimized pages from the mobile experience or to create special mobile features that are not presented to desktop users.

Replacing Flash with JavaScript. Apple's iOS, which is used on the iPad and iPhone does not support Adobe Flash technology, which was the dominant method of delivering animation and video up until a short time ago. Because Apple devices have such a commanding position in the mobile market, Flash should be replaced by newer methods of animation based on JavaScript.

Optimizing for Tablets. Most websites designed for the desktop look good on most tablets. However, on closer inspection, several common website features -- especially those that involve hovering over an object to initiate an action -- do not work as expected on tablets and need to be reconsidered. Similarly, popup windows that open without hiding the pages beneath them do not always produce the desired effect on tablets and may need to be replaced.

Adding Media Queries. Typical smartphone browsers display about one-third as many pixels in width as the typical desktop browser window. Consequently, the size of type and the positioning of objects may need to change dramatically when switching between devices. Media queries are special styling codes that instruct web browsers to display objects differently depending on the browser's current width. In some cases, we can use what is called "responsive design" to build an entire website that "morphs" as the browser width changes. In other cases, we use media queries more sparingly in order to make specific objects easier to read on certain devices.

Customization Using the JQM Web App for Smartphones. Because the display area on a smartphone is so much smaller than on a desktop device, a great deal of current mobile development is being done using the JQuery Mobile (JQM) framework. JQM is regularly updated so that it displays well on the vast majority of smartphones. It has also benefited from a growing number of open source plugins that extend its functionality. If we use JQM in conjunction with your website, then we will customize its design, including colors and graphics that tie into your desktop website.

Configuring the Mobile Manager. Often, when going from desktop to smartphone, one needs to re-think and usually simplify the website navigation. We have developed a Mobile Manager plugin that makes it easy to assign pages from your desktop website to your mobile website navigation. We typically do the initial set up, after which an authorized website administrator can make additional changes at will.

"Save to Home Screen" Icon and Reminder. Apple devices make it possible for a user to save a branded icon to their mobile home screen so that a mobile-optimized website can be launched from the home screen just like a true "app." We typically create the home screen icon and also provide a special message that pops up periodically to remind mobile website users to save the site to their home screens.

Limitations to Optimization. Occasionally, there are limits to our ability to provide complete mobile optimization. For example, pages or features that are served from 3rd party websites must be optimized by those parties. Or there may be custom applications or complex forms within your own website that are not easily adapted for use on tiny smartphone screens. In either case, we will analyze your website and discuss these issues with you in advance.

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