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Two easy paths to a mobile-friendly site

November 18, 2010

Some of you may be wondering how to create a website that displays well on a smartphone (iOS/Android/Blackberry). Perhaps the simplest answer is to create a blog on WordPress.com; it has an option to “Display a mobile theme when this blog is viewed with a mobile browser.” The blog you’re reading now is so enabled – and looks great on my iPod Touch. You have no control over the look-and-feel of the mobile pages, but that may be a blessing in disguise.

If you need a traditional website that is a bit more flexible, try the iWebKit template. I used it to build a set of pages for an event we sponsored in February. You need to know some HTML, and it helps to understand basic CSS. It would not be a piece of cake for a casual web page editor, but I would not call it difficult to use. I used Adobe Dreamweaver to make the process a bit easier. iWebkit was designed for iPhones, though most pages evidently look fine on Android devices.

“Quick and easy” answers usually come with a downside, and here they are: iWebkit is mobile-only and the WordPress solution is blog-centric. A better solution is a website that senses the type of device trying to open a page and provides content at an appropriate screen size. I have not done this, but it can be done with Dreamweaver (video and link below).

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