New innovations in the mobile phone industry, such as 3G technologies and new handsets such as the iPhone, have led to an increase in so-called WAP website design. Small, low resolution screens, clunky interfaces, inadequate navigation and slow connection speeds are a thing of the past with this next generation of mobiles, and a shift in the way many web design Solihull companies look at the use of mobile web. But the question remains: How will this affect the future of web design?
The mirroring of traditional design values with those for WAP are clear in more areas than one. For instance, many of the optimisation tactics deployed in desktop sites also apply here. The submission of a mobile sitemap to search engines, well-positioned key content, outbound linking, adding your URL to directories and business listings, as well as keyword-rich page titles and metadata are essential for indexing purposes. Designers must ensure that their site’s navigation is easy to crawl through and efficiently coded.
Layout is as much an essential component of design with mobile Internet as it is with traditional mediums – clear, crisp and concise. The use of Flash for instance should be avoided, as long loading times are considered an absolute no-no in mobile designs. Creative flourishes like this need should be eliminated as user experience is key.
Wap designs must conform to the W3C’s mobile standards, which could mean anything from the creation of WAP-friendly CSS style sheets to the correct rendering of tables and images. These guidelines are fundamental in not only ensuring that web sites crossover successfully to the WAP platform, but also in search engine optimisation, as the search engines develop their algorithms around these standards, and getting indexed will hinge upon complying with W3C.
Using a WML, XHTML or CHTML mark-up language is the best way of ensuring that your mobile device can ‘read’ your site. The correct use of these codes is essential to guarantee that the spiders can index your web pages and go some way to securing healthy search rankings.
So what about the next gen of phones then, such as the iPhone? What is apparent is that the high resolution screens of these models enable a more visual experience for the user, meaning more symmetry between WAP and desktop Internet. These handsets are able to display what is in essence the full, ‘normal’ Internet. Some popular websites, such as Facebook, are even modified when loaded through these handsets to present a slightly-watered down, but essentially the same experience.
According to recent research by the end of the year in excess of one billion people will carry handsets that are capable of providing exceptional, next generation browsing. Now is the time for web design Solihull to implement WAP-accessibility and functionality in their sites to take advantage of this booming industry.