First guideline should be overall behavior of the site. The mobile profile needs to follow the URI (uniform resource identifier) for a coherent experience when accessed from different mobile phones. Use and exploit the PDA’s capabilities. Do not take shortcuts and be sure to always test on actual devices as well as emulators. Also, do not use frames (standard or inline), unless the target client is known to support them.
Second, you need to be sure that the page content is suitable to use in a mobile environment. Keep URL’s short and provide minimal navigation at the page top. Consider your structure and evaluate numerous links on a page. Consistency is the key when you are designing the navigation and links for a .mobi site. Use the phones resources instead of always adding buttons or links to a screen. Below are some other key points to remember.
* Link Target Identification - Clearly identify the target of each link.
* Note the target file's format unless you know the device supports it.
* Image Maps - Do not use image maps unless you know the target client supports them effectively.
* Refreshing, Redirection and Spawned Windows - Do not cause pop-ups or other windows to appear and do not change the current window without informing the user.
* Do not create periodically auto-refreshing pages, unless you have informed the user and provided a means of stopping it.
* Do not use markup to redirect pages automatically. Instead, configure the server to perform redirects by means of HTTP 3xx codes.
* Externally Linked Resources - Keep the number of externally linked resources to a minimum.
Third, the page layout and content should be carefully considered. You will want to use clear, concise, simple language. The page size should be divided into usable, but limited portions. Remember, there are memory limitations on the devices. Scrolling is necessary but should be limited to one direction (up and down) unless it is unavoidable. You want to make sure you use graphics that can be rendered properly by the devices while avoiding large or high resolution images, unless the image is of a critical nature. Contrast and color need to be investigated. Some devices may only show in black & white so be sure that what you publish will work well in color or in black & white.
Fourth is page definition. Titles should be short but descriptive. Tables (or nested tables) should not be used. You should not rely on embedded objects or scripts to run your pages. You do not want to use pixel measures nor absolute unites in the markup language but attribute values and style sheet property values instead. Style sheets should b e used to control the layout and page definition, but keep them small. Your content needs to sent in a format that is known to be supported on the mobile devices. Content needs to be encoded with a character encoding supported by the mobile devices. Cookies should not be relied upon, nor should font related styling. Error messages need to provide accurate information and a way of navigating away from the screen.
Fifth, user input should be kept to a minimum number of keystrokes. Where possible, avoid free text entries but provide pre-selected default values. Make sure that all links and pages are in a logical order and label all controls appropriately.
Sources: dotMobi Switch On Guides & Mobile Web Best Practices – from W3C
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