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How To Make A Mobile Version Of My Site?

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#1 mrgoodfox


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Posted 16 January 2012 - 10:07 PM

This is one area where I'm definitely lagging behind most everyone else. What are the overall steps in making a mobile version of a site?

I'm assuming I need a php script that determines whether the users are on a mobile platform or not and then redirecting them to a different theme on the site than the "Main Theme". Is that correct?

I don't really want to use the tools out there to automatically convert my current site to mobile. I want to write a new theme/design for the mobile version of the site.

#2 A.N.Onym


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Posted 17 January 2012 - 07:29 AM

What you want is usually done through user-agent detection and redirecting/using the mobile theme instead (at least, that's how it is in WordPress).

However, there are several ways to skin a mobile site:
- to create mobile-specific stylesheets with your current HTML
- to improve your current HTML layout, if it's not that fluid, and use mobile-specific stylesheets for responsive design (that's the current trend in mobile design)
- to use a mobile-theme, which would be similar to the 2nd variant, but use it only for mobile users
- to detect mobile users and redirect them to a mobile theme with different content.

Which one to take would depend on your needs, there've been a few discussions on the topic:

To understand this better, I'd start here with great advice from Ammon and iamlost (2008).

Then, there's a discussion whether the mobile and desktop versions should be identical (2011).

Then, there are a few mobile design questions with answers (2010).

My personal choice is to use responsive web design, but later to bother with:
- HTML5 to provide backwards compatible, but potentially better styling for newer browsers
- more mobile-specific changes to the stylesheets to improve navigation and reading
- a mobile theme with different content for the mobile users.

Right now, there's more ROI to be had for me to work on other things instead of creating a different mobile theme, so I rely on responsive design mostly.

That being said, if you have the resources and want to become the go to mobile site on the topic, I would create the best there is of mobile design and content for a site (after all, it's not too difficult, but you really need to have mobile-specific content/functionality). Like Ammon said:

What else could be done about mobile internet browsing. Not limiting ourselves to either short-term thinking or ease of application. That's because most of the biggest leaps in business are not about what is easy or short-term.

More links on responsive design:

Edited by A.N.Onym, 17 January 2012 - 09:06 AM.

#3 mrgoodfox


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Posted 19 January 2012 - 12:44 PM

Thanks Yura. Looks like I just found more than enough work for my weekend :)

#4 wiser3


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Posted 19 January 2012 - 04:50 PM

For everyone with a Joomla based site i recommend the Mobile Joomla component.
I don't think there could be a better, faster, or more versatile way to make your site mobile friendly.

Edited by wiser3, 19 January 2012 - 04:51 PM.

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