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Creating websites for mobile devices

According to the GSM Association, more people world-wide have access to an Internet-ready mobile device (such as a mobile/cell phone) than an Internet-enabled PC. The number of people that will connect to the Internet using their phone is expected to reach 1.3 billion by 2008.

Creating a website aimed at this ever-growing audience can be an exciting opportunity for you as a website owner.

In this article, we'll share with you some concepts that are important when preparing your website for this new frontier in online content delivery.

Issues arising from viewing traditional websites on a mobile device

Viewing a website on an Internet-ready mobile device differs from accessing a website from a PC. The two most significant variations are screen dimensions and navigational functions.

Websites are usually designed for an average screen width of 740 pixels (most PC monitors are at least 800 pixels wide). Mobile devices, however, have screens only a fraction of the size (often less than 200 pixels wide), resulting in standard websites being difficult to view.

Navigating a website using a mobile device is also more time consuming since a user is often limited to navigating a site using only pointer buttons.

These differences need to be taken into consideration when designing a site that is intended to be viewed on Internet-ready mobile devices.

Fundamental design and content variations

Websites designed for Internet-ready mobile devices usually have the following fundamental design and content features:

  • Small webpage file sizes to speed up downloads.
  • Simple navigational structures at the top of the page that make navigating around the site easy.
  • Short and concise text.
  • Images of an appropriate size for the small screen dimensions of mobile devices.
  • The points above can pose a design problem: How can you as a website owner make your site look appealing to PC users who expect large graphics and multimedia features while also delivering content to mobile-device users?

One possible solution is to create two separate websites: one for PC users, the other for mobile-device users. As of this month, implementing this solution is easier than ever before:

.mobi domain names

From this month, you can register .mobi domain names. These domain names are specifically intended to be used by websites that are designed to be displayed on mobile devices.

Registering a .mobi domain name creates many opportunities for you. For example, you could create a separate .mobi-based website to compliment your existing site, making it easy for you to reach people using mobile devices without the need to change your existing website's design.

Designing websites for .mobi

To ensure that .mobi websites are compatible with all mobile devices, the .mobi domain registry has put mandatory design guidelines and recommended best practices into place.

Guides are available to help you design .mobi websites. Visit http://www.mmaus.com/services/domains/mobi/guides.html for more information.

Protecting your brand

Many business and website owners are proactively registering .mobi domains to prevent their business/website names being registered by someone else.

There is no requirement to set up a website once a .mobi domain name has been registered. You can therefore register a .mobi domain name even if you have not yet decided whether you want to create a .mobi website in the future.

Registering a .mobi domain name

There is a two-year minimum registration period for new .mobi domain names.

You can register a .mobi domain name through Multimedia Australia's website at http://www.mmaus.com/services/domains/mobi/index.html .

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