Once upon a time, the biggest concern of web developers when coming up with websites was trying to figure out what screen resolution the majority of their visitors would be using.
If anything, that issue has only gotten bigger with time (no pun intended!).
Nowadays, not only are screen resolutions a lot more varied but there is also the additional fact that web users are no longer just accessing the internet from their PCs, notebooks, or netbooks.
Growing numbers of users are going online from their smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, which means that as a web developer, you have a choice: Either you need to force these devices to adapt to your website, or you need to adapt your website to these devices.
It should go without saying that the latter option is definitely going to earn you a lot more goodwill among your users, which is why nowadays more and more web developers find themselves attempting to come up with responsive and adaptive web designs!
Factors to Consider in Cross-Device Web Development
As soon as you start thinking about how your website is going to look on multiple platforms and devices, you need to be prepared for the fact that there are a wide array of factors that must be taken into account.
Here are a two of the most important:
- Screen Dimensions
It should go without saying that a design that might look great on a 24” monitor isn’t going to look anywhere near as good on a 4” smartphone screen. Through the use of media queries in CSS3, you can set up different design rules for different screen sizes however, which is definitely one of the cornerstones of responsive and adaptive web development.
- Mouse vs. Touchscreen
Conventional web development assumes that the user will be browsing the website using a mouse – which is not the case with touchscreen tablets and smartphones.
Not only do you need to space out links so that the user doesn’t ‘misclick’ on a touchscreen, but you’ll also have to account for the fact that CSS states such as hovering don’t apply to these devices.
There are other areas that you’re going to want to pay attention to as well, but these are undoubtedly the two that could potential ‘make or break’ your design.
It may seem like a lot of hassle to ensure that your website translates well across multiple devices, but considering the fact that mobile devices are becoming increasingly more popular – it is fast becoming a necessity.
As a web developer, it is no longer sufficient to assume that the bulk of your users will be using traditional PC-and-mouse interfaces when all evidence suggests otherwise!