Bruce Lawson is an Opera web evangelist. Today at SXSW Interactive he gave a presentation about “Web Anywhere.” Here’s a list of things Bruce mentioned as a good rule of thumb for any mobile site deployment.

  1. Don’t use tables.

    Tables do not work well on limited screen sizes.

  2. Give image dimensions in HTML

    This is really a user experience issue. Sometimes mobile devices don’t have the same connection speed as desktop users. If the mobile user begins to read the page content before all the images are downloaded and the image dimensions weren’t called out in html the content can jump around. This can frustrate a visitor to any site. There are a few sites I visit often that is happens to me. It’s a good reminder of why it’s important.

  3. Consider using < a href=”tel:xxx” > to mark up phone numbers

    This is a nice to have in a mobile environment. It’s a simple line of code that can prevent a visitor from having to scramble to find a piece of paper to jot down a phone number.

  4. Minimise http request.

    This is more about speed and efficiency than anything else. In order to do this well, combine all JavaScript into one file. The same is true for CSS, combine it into one file. Use SVG images. SVG is a vector graphic that is very light weight and well supported in mobile devices. Illustrator can author SVG files too.

  5. Use ems to define the fonts size, not pixels.

    The main reason is due to the new phones coming out of China. The devices have an insanely high pixel count and will render your text super small.

  6. Turn off CSS3 shadows and transitions.

    As a designer, it pains me to say this, it’s just decoration. A shadow or transition isn’t typically part of the brands equity. It’s a decorative element and enhances the experience.

  7. Put the < script > element as far down the page as possible.

    When a browser renders a page, it pauses while rendering the JavaScript. If the script is loaded after most of the content the user can still enjoy your content while waiting for the JavaScript loveliness to download.

  8. Use feature detection.

    Mobile devices have nice tech that desktops don’t have access too. GPS is one of those things. Anytime we can enhance the experience without placing a burden on the user or their device we should do it.

  9. Make your code accessible.

    This is a bigger deal in the UK than the States. However, I expect this to change in the near future. There are legal ramifications to comply with, however to me it a moral issue too. Sites shouldn’t exclude screen readers or other accessibility devices. Mobile also tends to run faster when accessible measure and best practices are used in the development of a site.

Bruce was a great speaker that delivered great information. I found this session to be quite timely in the projects I’m encountering for my clients.