No doubt you’ve encountered a mobile-version website by now, especially if you’ve got a smartphone such as a Galaxy or iPhone.
If you’re technically challenged or simply haven’t bothered to find out, perhaps you’re still wondering how these weird little websites work.
In this article, I’ll take you behind the scenes and explain how it all works, from a webmaster’s point-of-view.
Different Types of ComputersLet’s say you have a computer at home. It’s one of those ones that sits on the floor next to you. This is called a “tower” desktop. For the purpose of this article, it falls into the category of desktop computer.
It has a monitor connected to it, as well as a mouse and keyboard. If you’re lucky, you might have some speakers hooked up as well.
Another type of computer is called a “laptop”. These are the portable-type computers you see people on the bus and train with. They fold out into a screen and keyboard setup.
A “netbook” is a smaller-version laptop.
Different Types of WebsitesWhen you visit a website from any of these devices, you are taken to the home page of the site. Easy enough to understand. However, things start to change when a mobile phone is used to visit the same site, assuming the site is equipped with a mobile-version website.
Take a site like Facebook. Obviously, a big player on the internet scene. These guys are in front of the waves of technology and had a mobile-friendly website fairly early in the piece.
When you visit Facebook from a mobile phone like a Galaxy or iPhone, you are taken to a simplified version of the main site that is much easier to navigate and use from your phone.
Here’s what happens behind the scenes.
Your mobile phone uses a mobile-version browser. On the Facebook website, they have installed some code, otherwise known as a script. This script actually detects the type of browser being used to access the site. It does this by browser version and/ or screen resolution.
The script may be set to redirect anything that is using a screen resolution of less than 800 pixels, to the mobile-version website. This would include all current mobile phones, iPods and iPads.
So, when you land there with your phone, you are taken to the mobile website automatically.
There are actually two separate websites. The full-version and the mobile version. They sit alongside each other on the host provider’s server, working in unison to display the best version of their website to their visitors.
Different Types of PeopleIt’s all about catering to the different demographics, or types of people. A lot of people still use desktops and laptops, so they will see the original website. However, there is a big increase in mobile-device usage to access websites and Google estimates by as early as 2013, mobile usage will overtake deskptop usage to access the internet.
To bring it back into the real world so you can understand this, just take note of how many people are using Samsung Galaxy’s, Apple iPhones, HTC’s and the other big brands of smartphone.
Go into any mobile phone store and look at the large percentage of smartphones on display. Usually there’s a couple of basic text-and-talk, but the wall will be full of these large-screened, internet-ready smartphones. This is why the prediction is likely to be accurate. That’s what they are selling nowadays. As more and more people get these phones, they will inevitable begin using them to access the net to do their banking, catch up on Facebook, check the auction on eBay and so on.