Mobile Web Design Book Review

Posted: September 10, 2007

Recently, Cameron Moll published a brand new book, Mobile Web Design. This book focuses on a subject which is of great interest to me; the mobile Web. To quote Cameron himself:

A web standards approach for delivering content beyond the desktop. Much has been written about mobile devices. Plenty has been written about developing websites for the so-called “standards era” of the web. However, little has been written about the two colliding. This resource aims to fill that void.

I’ve been reading what Mr. Moll has had to write for a long time, and it’s great to see that his writing style has been carried over into this book. The language is very straightforward and easy to read. This is not his first time writing specifically about the mobile Web. He’s published a series of articles on the mobile Web on his personal website, which are also a fantastic read. Having read all three as they were published, I was really excited for the coming of Mobile Web Design

The book is currently offered for $19 USD as a PDF download. There is also a downloadable preview available should you need more convincing.

[Image] Mobile Web Design Book Cover
Figure 1. Mobile Web Design book cover

More and more people are using their mobile handsets to browse the Web every day. For the most part, mobile Web browsing can be a painful experience. This book aims to teach developers how to work with the new set of circumstances when it comes to mobile devices.

The book begins by giving some stats, figures, and historical facts about the history of mobile devices. The figures included are quite impressive when held in comparison to other ‘everyday’ technology. An important note to take home is that the mobile Web is absolutely not a miniaturized ‘normal’ Web. The mobile Web is a new environment which has characteristics that both enhance as well as detract from the browsing experience. Mobile Web Design aims to help us out.

There is an abundance of great examples and tips for developing for the mobile Web in the following chapters. Mr. Moll outlines four basic ways to handle mobile phones as:

  • Do Nothing
  • Reduce Images and Styling
  • Use Handheld Style Sheets
  • Create Mobile-Optimized Content

Each method is well supported and explained.

Markup and style are also the topic of conversation in this book. The Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) as well as Wireless Markup Language (WML) are touched upon, then moving on to mobile Web design standards and fundamental markup structure.

Mobile CSS, device detection, testing & validation are also subjects in the book. All of which are a great read if you’re working with the mobile Web (which we all are, even if we don’t mean to be).

Final thoughts on Mobile Web Design

Some developers may question the need for such a publication being that the iPhone has launched and effectively destroyed the ‘old’ mobile Web as we know it. Not so. Mr. Moll continuously brings the iPhone and its capabilities into the mix when appropriate, but mostly focuses on the billions of other mobile devices in the hands of people browsing the mobile Web.

I would absolutely recommend this book to any Web developer who is currently building websites. The mobile Web will continue to grow and it is important that professionals have a grasp on the pros and cons of the environment. This book is one of the few which focuses specifically on this subject, and in my opinion will become a staple read.

[Image] Each page bottom is cusomized with your name
Figure 2. The bottom of each page sports your name. Nice touch.

Additionally, if you buy the book, your name is at the bottom of every page; awesome.

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