People are increasingly using mobile devices to access the internet. This allows users to acquire information faster and more conveniently than ever before.
There are currently three major companies which have introduced operating systems for mobile devices which allow them to access the internet using a fully featured, standards compliant browser.
- The introduction of this device changed the face of mobile computing and has been consistently reinvented to maintain a major market share in mobile computing. Apple resisted the demand for flash support for the iPhone in favour of the features offered by HTML 5.
- The Android operating system provides an interesting alternative to Apples proprietary operating system by making the operating system and development tools free and open source. This meant that a community quickly built up around Android and the innovations in software largely originate from the community.
- There have been many incarnations of the Windows Mobile over the years but the latest version has brought them up to speed with the offerings from Apple and Google. While the competition have well established their operating system and software development and distribution techniques, Microsoft are making use of cloud technology to bring unprecedented levels of computing power to the mobile device market. A fresh interface and having the operating system ship with some of the highest specification handsets should be a step in the right direction for Windows Mobile.
The browsers provided with these smart phones will attempt to reorder content when the zoom level changes in order to best fit the content to the available screen size. For the most part this works well when translating full size websites to the screens of mobile devices. If you need to control the way a web site or page looks or works when viewed on a particular device the best option is to customise the page for visitors using that device.
To further integrate the functionality of your website into handsets you may wish to have an application (or app) created. These applications can access content on your website and display them using features which are native to the phone. This can help with accessibility as well as adding functionality. Controlling content using a native application allows you to deliver content which is most relevant to mobile users and makes it as easy as possible for them to make use of that information. This may take the form of a purchase or usage of the service your website provides.