When mobile devices became a player in cyberspace, the line between the traditional web space and the emerging mobile cyberspace was very clear. Back then, mobile devices were still too slow to be a reliable host of online content. Mobile web design was still at its infancy. Back then mobile technology as a whole was still grappling for direction even as innovators begun rolling out ambitious advancements which we now enjoy as a new reality.
While mobile technology increases its long-term potential to become the main platform of internet use in the future, the focus in mobile web design shifts from compatibility to adaptability. It has become evident that the competing demand for both desktop and mobile web content is costly and thus impractical. The clear solution is to make web contents adaptable to the two or on any size of display.
As web developers scramble to bridge the increasingly cost-deficient gap, a new concept in web adaptability has emerged: server-side adaptation. As the term suggests, this means adaptability shall be implemented not only on the web design itself but also on the servers. The web servers must possess a "logic" feature that would give it the ability to detect the type of device that tries to access its hosted content. This will allow servers to select and send the content specification most compatible with the contacting device especially with respect to display dimension.
The recent onslaught of the mobile technology handheld products, particularly the smartphones, has significantly if not irreversibly tipped the scale of how most people access the internet in favor of mobile devices. This phenomenon has led to very significant developments in cyberspace. One of that is the blurring of the line between mobile and desktop devices in terms of functionality and then preferential popularity. As mobile devices increasingly becomes more powerful, the technological edge of desktops like storage capacity, speed, multitasking ability becomes thinner while the advantages of mobile devices like functional mobility and direct connections have become more apparent and popular.
The single most important new strand of thinking that has emerge with this mobile technology sub-revolution is the idea that why adapt when we are going to dominate. One very concrete example of this is the emergence of Android as a dominant operating system that almost took the mobile world the way Microsoft did with PCs.
After going over both the techniques that have been employed to establish adaptability and the mobile technological development that seem to overtake it by storm, it has become evidently clear that any idea based on the premise that web development approach can cover all the very often unique specifications of an increasingly diverse mobile device market is ultimately flawed. There could be some points of reconciliation and handshaking at a certain degree and innovations may be underway to exploit that but one single code for a still unsettled topography of cyberspace is virtually untenable at least at this point.
To not sound so cynical, if the goal is just ensure that a site works on a good handful of high end mobile devices, and individual web user satisfaction may have to come second, using the responsive design or the mobile-first responsive design approach is a good way to go.
Aubry Ann Maquiling has worked with hundreds of business owners over the past couple of years, helped them build their website from ground,improve sales and business growth. Visit his blog: Spider Web Consulting - first-class mobile website designs where it's their business to put your business online!