Re: Different widths for different browsers

Discussion in 'HTML' started by Andy Dingley, Nov 5, 2009.

  1. Andy Dingley

    Andy Dingley Guest

    On 5 Nov, 11:26, Barely Audible <> wrote:
    > Probably a hopeless question but is there anything I can embed in an
    > html page that will enable me to have a different page width for an
    > ordinary browser or a mobile phone browser when they access the page?

    Not really. If you want this sort of tailoring, you need to look at
    server-side dynamic behaviour based on browser sniffing (a ghastly
    notion at best, but barely excusable here). Protocols like CC/PP
    promise much, but don't deliver too well. It's actually quite hard to
    determine "mobile vs. desktop" and sniffing for the OS is generally
    more robust than sniffing for browsers and less often spoofed.

    Really though, go read the free online copy of Joe Clark's book on
    accessible web design. In particular, read the sections on the
    importance of a well-linearised site, and on fluid design.

    Fluid design makes your site content render usefully well no matter
    what the window width (remember it's window, not screen, that
    matters). It can't render "as well" (it's smaller), but it does mean
    that things don't break and your sideways positioning gracefully
    degrades to a vertical stack as necessary, without either truncation,
    overlap, or (ideally) needing to use sideways scrolling as well.

    Fluid design is important (and important purely for desktops) but even
    that's not enough. Most mobile browsing now (compared to 5 years ago)
    is done through palmtop and tablet devices that have a reasonable
    screen width of 600 or 800, rather than the pure phone of 200 square.
    However they're still short on connection bandwidth. Their browsers
    should render incrementally as content appears (Opera is noticeably
    poor at this, just look at the Nokia 800 tablets). Sites should also
    be very careful about their linearisation order, and in not serving
    superfluous content (mostly excess ads) that make page access unusably
    slow. These are server-side issues, not client-side!

    No matter how clever your page design and how fluid your CSS layout
    is, getting good usability to today's tablet devices requires a
    careful allocation of bandwidth, and that's why we're back looking at
    user-agent sniffing.
    Andy Dingley, Nov 5, 2009
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