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Mobile do’s and don’ts

Developers who have built Web sites that cater to mobile device users offer some advice.

Do:

  • Spend upfront time soliciting input from constituents about what information they consider essential when accessing Web sites on tiny screens. Don’t dump everything into the site.
  • Feel free to start small. Agencies report positive feedback even when they present limited amounts of basic information on mobile sites.
  • Adhere to industry standard formats such as HTML and Wireless Application Protocol to ensure the site supports the widest range of mobile devices.
  • Get a link to your mobile site posted on www.mobile.usa.gov so people can easily find it.

Don’t:

  • Delay mobile-site introductions because you fear they’ll be a drain on staff time and resources. Agencies report launching sites with only minor coding customizations to their main sites.
  • Use a .mobi extension, even though the domain was created to connect mobile devices to the Internet. A standard .gov domain does more to bolster public-sector brand recognition.
  • Design sites to capitalize on features of individual phone platforms, no matter how popular Apple’s iPhone or competitors become. Constantly changing hardware technology will make ongoing support problematic.

About the Author

Alan Joch is a freelance writer based in New Hampshire.

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