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Designing for one web

From: Mobile Web Design & Development Fundamentals

Video: Designing for one web

I will be right upfront with you on something: there is no magic bullet that will make your web pages automatically work great on both mobile and desktop devices. However, one of the best ways to make your job easier when designing web pages for the mobile context is to follow the basic principle of design for one web. Designing for one web means building your pages in a way that makes it easier to provide the same content to a wide range of users regardless of the device they are using to access your site. Now note that I didn't say the same experience for multiple devices and form factors, just that the content is accessible.

Designing for one web

I will be right upfront with you on something: there is no magic bullet that will make your web pages automatically work great on both mobile and desktop devices. However, one of the best ways to make your job easier when designing web pages for the mobile context is to follow the basic principle of design for one web. Designing for one web means building your pages in a way that makes it easier to provide the same content to a wide range of users regardless of the device they are using to access your site. Now note that I didn't say the same experience for multiple devices and form factors, just that the content is accessible.

In other words, don't just exclude users from accessing your site because they aren't using a specific device or browser. This just takes us back to the bad old days of 'this site best viewed in browser X,' and those days were not fun for users or for developers. In fact, the situation is worse with mobile devices because some manufacturers don't give the user the option of using a different browser on their phone. At least on the desktop users usually have the ability to download a different browser, but many mobile users don't have that option. So if you require a particular browser, you're just turning potential customers away from your site.

Designing for one web helps to ensure that these users can experience your site on their devices. To do this, follow good development practices, such as keeping your content separate from your style sheets and script files. Avoid things like inline styles, inline JavaScript statements like event handlers, and platform-specific markup features, because these kinds of things make content hard to port across multiple form factors and devices. Pick a baseline of functionality that you need to deliver to your audience and then use techniques like progressive enhancement to deliver a higher-quality experience to devices that can handle it.

To take a simple example, consider these two pieces of code. On the left there are embedded JavaScript functions and inline style sheets that will make this page hard to move to mobile, and just imagine if you have thousands of pages like this. On the right the style sheets and scripts have been moved outside of the markup, and the page is progressively enhanced instead. Following these kinds of guidelines will make your task easier. Let's consider the Wells Fargo banking mobile web site. Their site renders with styles and features that are supported on a richer-capability browser while providing access to the content for less capable browsers.

So here I'm using my Nexus S, which has the WebKit browser in it. This is Chrome on Android, and you can see that here on the Wells Fargo homepage I have some nice styling. I have got some side links with some rounded corners. When I click on the Sign On link I get this animation, it goes from the right to the left, and that lets me sign on. And if I go back, I get the same kind of animation. I can click on a link to search for ATMs and so on. So this is a richer-capability browser. Let's see how the site looks on another browser. So here, this is a Windows phone, and the current release of this browser is based on IE7, and you can see that while the styling is a little bit different, the access to the content is all the same.

I still have a place where I can sign on, I have a place where I can search for ATMs and so on, and all the links of the same features are here on the homepage, just as they were for the richer--class browser. Now the way the Wells Fargo is accomplishing this is by making their markup in such a fashion that the content is delivered to the same devices, but it's styled in each case for each browser, one which understands some which are styling commands and one which doesn't. Building pages such as this that are compact and yet information rich and easy to navigate is not particularly difficult. It just takes some planning.

By following these guidelines, your pages can also be crisp, clean, and succinct.

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This video is part of

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Mobile Web Design & Development Fundamentals

46 video lessons · 24360 viewers

Joe Marini
Author

 
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  1. 2m 48s
    1. Welcome
      1m 2s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 46s
  2. 29m 25s
    1. Understanding the mobile context
      8m 5s
    2. A survey of mobile sites
      11m 44s
    3. Targeting mobile browsers
      4m 31s
    4. Previewing a complete mobile site
      5m 5s
  3. 27m 20s
    1. Designing for one web
      3m 43s
    2. Using well-defined web standards
      3m 45s
    3. Designing mobile-friendly pages
      3m 40s
    4. Being crisp, clean, and succinct
      5m 45s
    5. Minimizing input where possible
      6m 47s
    6. Focusing on the core scenarios
      3m 40s
  4. 1h 13m
    1. Installing the tools
      3m 52s
    2. Setting up a local web server
      9m 13s
    3. Installing device emulators
      17m 5s
    4. Using device emulators
      13m 9s
    5. Downloading Modernizr and Mobile Boilerplate
      6m 22s
    6. Building a first mobile web page
      5m 43s
    7. Developing mobile pages with desktop browsers
      8m 6s
    8. Exploring useful mobile web development resources
      10m 23s
  5. 53m 26s
    1. Reviewing mobile markup languages
      5m 10s
    2. Understanding content adaptation approaches
      10m 32s
    3. Controlling the viewport layout
      12m 50s
    4. Designing forms
      13m 30s
    5. Using CSS media queries
      11m 24s
  6. 1h 11m
    1. Detecting client capabilities with script
      10m 8s
    2. Caching information with local storage
      9m 16s
    3. Determining position with geolocation
      12m 52s
    4. Minimizing HTTP requests with data URLs
      7m 39s
    5. Understanding user agent detection
      9m 8s
    6. Using server-side detection with PHP
      6m 52s
    7. Using server-side detection with ASP.NET
      4m 54s
    8. Using HTML5 Boilerplate for mobile
      11m 6s
  7. 39m 22s
    1. Measuring performance
      7m 41s
    2. Creating full-screen web apps
      6m 30s
    3. Customizing the user interface
      5m 14s
    4. Detecting orientation changes
      3m 58s
    5. Detecting device movement
      5m 21s
    6. Using touch events
      10m 38s
  8. 47m 14s
    1. Taking a look at the finished site
      7m 40s
    2. Examining the header and background image style on the Home page
      10m 10s
    3. Examining the hover effect and layout styles on the Tours page
      6m 42s
    4. Examining mobile forms on the Contact page
      9m 45s
    5. Viewing and testing the mobile site on emulators
      8m 11s
    6. Viewing the site on devices
      4m 46s
  9. 2m 34s
    1. Goodbye
      2m 34s

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