Viewing websites on Smartphones
Everyone has a smartphone. Well nearly everyone, and they are here to stay. The problem though, is that many websites are optimised to only be viewed on a desktop computer, so a smartphone browser has to employ a range of tricks to make it look like it does on a desktop screen or laptop. However, smaller devices have smaller screens (duh) which can make reading the content and navigating using tiny menu buttons incredibly irritating. So it’s best to find some solution to make sure your site either adapts to being viewed on a mobile phone or loads another version.
Responsive Sites and what they do.
A responsive website is basically a website that responds to whatever screen it’s being viewed on, so its width changes depending on the width of the device, be it an iPad, iPhone or an Android phone. This fluid width is also accompanied by a layout system that changes with width in mind. So when the screen is smaller, your widgets don’t get crushed into or over the top of your content but instead drop neatly below your content ready to be played with. Take a look at Korda String Quartet’s site on your smartphone for an example of a responsive site.
A Mobile Website
A mobile website is a website that shows only when the screen width is a certain size. i.e. on a tablet or phone. Even though there are a number of ways to trigger a mobile site and redirect the user to that site rather than your unoptimised website, they essentially all do the same thing. It is another solution, albeit a little clunky, to help more types of people get to your site and see it without errors, regardless of the device they view it on. Mobile sites often start with m.yoursite.com or mobile.yoursite.com. They too work off the fluid width system but the design is usually geared towards bigger buttons and smaller space. An example of a mobile website is the Rightmove estate agent website. Which if you visit on your computer you will see the fluid width in action, as everything will be stretched to the full width of the page. Indeed if you resize your browser on that site you’ll see it react and stay looking good, without breaking. A minimum width will also keep it from getting too small.