Web’s Masters Recommend Best Mobile Web Practices

W3C has thoughts on mobile web development

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As millions of people around the world add web-capable mobile devices to their pockets, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) hopes publishers will adopt its recommendations on mobile web development.

Consistency in the HTML specification helped webmasters build sites that anyone with a browser could visit. When Microsoft began playing around with non-standard ways of handling HTML in its Internet Explorer browser, the Internet suffered a bit as developers were forced to build sites to display themselves one way for IE, and a different way for every other browser.

Microsoft cleaned up its act over the years, with IE 8 being as close to hewing to universal specifications on handling HTML and CSS. But the annoyances of several years of creating workarounds to cater to Microsoft likely played a role in the building of a mobile web specification by the W3C.

“The recommendations refer to delivered content and not to the processes by which it is created, nor to the devices or user agents to which it is delivered,” said the opening of this latest best practices document. “It is primarily directed at creators, maintainers and operators of Web sites.”

As more webmasters seek out mobile web users, especially in the competitive market for local business customers, they will want to embrace such consistency. No one wants to put a barrier in front of a potential customer.

To keep the mobile web open and inviting, W3C suggested minimal navigation for the top of pages, and consistent navigation methods throughout mobile sites. Since many webmasters practice SEO and redirection of links, W3C said using 3xx HTTP codes instead of markup to redirect pages should be the method here.

Skip the frames and the tables for organizing mobile content too. And when there is a non-text element on a page, a text equivalent should be provided too.

Reaching the growing number of web-capable mobile devices promises a long-term payoff. There is room for first-movers to seize a place on the mobile web with their content, where a similar opportunity may not exist on the conventional PC. Develop to reach as many mobile users as possible, for a chance at achieving this.

Web’s Masters Recommend Best Mobile Web Practices
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