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 Mobile Formatting

The mobile web is the fastest growing sector of the internet. There are currently over 5.3 billion mobile subscribers (77 percent of the world population), and it is growing exponentially. Half a billion accessed the mobile web in 2009, and is expected to double by 2014 as mobile overtakes the PC as the most popular method of reaching the web.

See more statistics at Mobi Thinking.

With your mobile site you want to make sure everything is suitable for the mobile context. Kentucky.gov does most of the heavy lifting for you, but there are some simple yet very important guidelines to follow when creating mobile content. Since most mobile users are paying for bandwidth, give them only what they need while they are on the move.

To make content mobile-ready:

Content

  • Keep it simple. Mobile page sizes should not exceed 10KB for optimum viewing.
  • Clean up your content, and use clear and simple language. Since it is being viewed on a much smaller screen, you have limited time to reach your users.
  • No pop-ups, or targeting new windows. This just confuses users.
  • Do not link to images, or other objects located at external locations. This increases your load time, and frustrates users.
  • Keep external links to a minimum.

Images

  • When you use images, you must always specify a height and width. This reduces the amount of data transferred, and the processing required to scale the image.
    i.e. <img src="yourlogo.gif" width="100" height="50" alt="Company Logo" />
  • Limit your use of images. Only use them if they clarify a point. Make sure for mobile to keep them in the 10-20KB range. The smaller the file-size, the better. If the image does not make sense as an icon, it is probably not appropriate.
  • Just say no to image maps. There is no pointing device in the mobile context.
  • Do not use graphics for spacing.

For more mobile web standards, check out the W3C Mobile Web Initiative.

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