I used to make mobile sites with the assumption that the clients were just trying to get a quick view of my site; sort of a summary of the "real" site, with many of the less-critical pages removed. If they wanted to see everything, they either had to click a "give me the full site" link, or browse from a larger device.
I'm wondering now whether that's a correct model in 2012. Are enough folks using a mobile device as their only browser, such that I should be leaning toward providing all the content of the "full site", to these folks too?
I have written and maintain seven sites, all of which I have converted from fixed width to mobile friendly fluid designs. In the process, I'm learning what works and what doesn't. Basically, provided that you set a realistic minimum width to support, say 320px, and a realistic maximum, say 800px, you can make a web site work on mobiles as well as PCs. It may not work for all sites, but it can work for many. There is more detail on these techniques here.
Thanks for the link. Over the last week or so I've asked a few "mobile generation" folks this same question, and the general feedback is that yes I should actually eliminate content in the mobile version of a site, reducing info and functions that folks might reasonably expect would not be available on a smartphone device.
That conflicts with the link you gave, but has been the direction I'm going...
Well that depends. If the display width is below 640px, I eliminate the heading and menu on all but the "home" pages. So the site does adopt a more linear approach, but all the information is still there. That includes my "Relativity Myths" site that deals with complex, anti-intuitive, ideas like how space and time combine to form a 4D spacetime continuum, and the meaning of zero spacetime intervals. Of course that does not answer the question of whether people would choose to view a site like that on a low-spec smartphone. I'm just saying that it can be done.
Furthermore, if I needed to use graphic images larger than 300px wide I would eliminate them on "handheld" devices because, in my experience, the alternative of dynamically down-sizing large graphics on small screen devices is a no-no. The download time is excessive, even when using a wifi hotspot instead of 3G. At least that is the case with the lo-spec smartphones I use for testing. I wonder whether people who advocate that practice have tested their sites under realistic conditions?
I'm investigating the use of separate graphics on high/low resolution devices, but so far I have not found a solution to the problem of BOTH graphics appearing on IE8 and below. That is THE major issue. I suspect that people who advocate that technique have either found a solution, or are not testing on IE8!
I think it's about striking a balance between design and usage. There's a great (but quite long) article I read recently on the Nokia developers site about the vagaries of mobile development and how to represent different content to the mobile user. Well worth a look.
Want to interject my two cents worth.
I am new to developing Mobile webs but have been reading all the research I can grab. What I found on the subject of reducing the amount of information from your PC version to Mobile is definitely yes,. The real estate is expensive and not much of it.
What they say is always reference the PC site on the Mobile web, and give them a way to get there. Remember also if there is a great deal of scrolling that the visitor needs to do to get the desired info they need, they will leave the site.
I do believe if your initially developing a PC site, you should design it to be easier to add the jQuery Mobil calls to maximize the Mobile development effort.
I hope this has helped you some, however I think you are going in the right direction. At minimum it's my two cents on the subject.
Thanks for the input. In this example, I'm using media queries to determine browser size, so there is only one web site. I don't have separate "PC" and "mobile" sites that I could provide separate links to.
I think that's a very sensible thing to do. Mobile web development can be very challenging and sometimes gives more loss than profit if not done meticulously. As some may have a slow net connection it is better to keep the site small, giving only crucial information so that the load time is less. If the load time is too much, there are chances of the user bouncing. when users comes from a mobile device they are mostly looking for some quick information, probably just the "contact us" page.
It's crazy to develop two sites when with the proper development and structured one will do. There are lots of folks out there in business that have PC sites but no presents on the mobile world. Many of the sites are coded poorly because they knew a friend who did sites.
I'm 70 years of age and just love keeping my brain busy learning about mobile web development.