Optimizing for text and mobile browsers

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If you want a better understanding of how text-only browsers or some users on mobile devices are viewing your site (not including the new iPhone or iPod Touch and similar graphical interface mobile browsers), you can use Google's mobile viewing tool to give you an idea. This may help you visualize how to better arrange your site semantically for users in these categories.

To use this Google tool, type the following into your browser:

http://www.google.com/gwt/n?u=http://yoursitegoeshere.com.

You'll now be able to see how your complete site looks without CSS styling. You can even turn off images. Use this to think about if your WordPress content is loading in logically and in the order of importance you prefer for your viewers. Also keep in mind, this is very similar to how a search engine bot will crawl your page from top to bottom and thus the order in which the content will be indexed.

The new mobile Safari browser

The good news about your site and iPhone/iPod Touch users is that Mobile Safari (the mobile web browser Apple products use) is graphical. This means the browser seems to be able to take snapshots of your site fully rendered and shrink it down into the mobile browser, allowing a user to zoom in and out on the content.

Mobile Safari attempts to be standards compliant and, apparently, does a pretty good job of it. If you've followed this book's guidance on creating W3C standards-compliant XHTML markup and CSS in the creation of your template, your WordPress site will most likely show up stunningly on an iPhone or iPod Touch. The only major drawback I've seen in the Mobile Safari browser is the lack of Flash support; that is tough if your site has (or relies on) Flash content (this includes embedded YouTube, Google Video, or Jumpcut clips) on your site.

Want more information on designing for mobile devices?

A List Apart (as always) has some great information on designing for devices including the iPhone: http://www.alistapart.com/ articles/putyourcontentinmypocket.

Interested in Mobile Safari?

Check out this great O'Reilly Digital ShortCut by August Trometer: Optimizing your website for Mobile Safari, ensuring your website works on the iPhone and iPod touch (Digital ShortCut). It's a digital PDF you can purchase and download from inFormIt.com: http://www. informit.com/store/product.aspx?isbn=03 21544 013.

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