Every day, more and more smart phones are being purchased worldwide. As their popularity has grown, so has the demand for smart phone-friendly websites. This has led web developers to change the way they create websites, allowing them to be compatible with smart phone devices.
But why did web development need to change? There are a number of reasons, due to phones having a completely different composition to a desktop or laptop computer:
- Screen: smart phones have a considerably smaller screen than a traditional computer; it’s only 2.5 inches. The pixel resolution has also been greatly reduced, to 240 x 320. Web development needed to change to ensure that websites could be adequately viewed on these devices.
- Keyboard: smart phones will either have a small-scale physical or touch screen QWERTY keyboard, very similar to that used on a normal computer. However, as the size of the keyboard has been greatly reduced, it is difficult for users to scroll. Web developers had to work out a way for the most important content to be placed first, so that scrolling is reduced to a minimum.
- Distractions: unlike the traditional computer, people generally browse the internet on their phones when in noisy and busy locations, such as on public transport. Due to these distractions, the user’s attention is generally divided. Web developers needed to ensure that websites for smart phones were designed for quick and easy reading.
Web development for smart phones hit a milestone when it became possible to buy a mobile domain name (ending in .mobi) for websites that were only to be viewed on mobile devices. It soon became clear, however, that this was more difficult for businesses that then needed two domain names – one for regular computers, and another for smart phones.
It also became possible for websites to be created for specific phone devices, such as having one for the HTC Desire and another for the Samsung Galaxy. Due to the problems of the device not being known by internet browsers and the devices changing with new updates, this practice is not common.
These days, it is much easier for web developers to use CSS to cater websites to suit a variety of devices. CSS is able to detect when a advance phone mobile device is being used to access the web page, and reformats the site accordingly. This means it is unnecessary for developers to use different websites for browsers using smart phones, making their job that much easier.