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By Chris De Herrera 
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Optimizing Your Enterprise Website for Mobile
By Chris De Herrera, Copyright 2008
 Version 1.00  Revised 3/10/2008

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With the rise in the availability of high speed cellular data such as EVDO and UMTS and the increase in sales of data services, enterprise websites should consider optimizing their content for mobile users. This article describes some of the common techniques to optimize servers and content for users of Windows Mobile and other small screen devices.

Optimizing the Server

Whether you are using Windows and Internet Information Server (IIS) or Linux and Apache to present web pages, you can make some changes that will help improve the performance for mobile users. One of the standard features that the Windows Mobile web browsers support is the ability to receive compressed content via HTML from a web server. This compression must be enabled on the web server in order to take advantage of the reduced bandwidth to send data to clients. This technique works well for both mobile and desktop users while allowing the enterprise to maximize it’s communications link to the internet. The cost for the company is that the web server does use more CPU since it performs real time compression of the pages before they are sent to the client. However in my experience it has not caused a problem with performance.
For instructions on how to configure IIS to support http compression, please see
For instructions on how to configure Apache 2.0 to support http compression, please see

Optimizing the Website

It is my recommendation that you create a separate website for mobile users.  By creating a separate website, users will easily be able to navigate to the website that is setup and optimized for mobile users. This can be done by creating a second host name such as or by creating a directory from the root of the web server such as The internet now offers a special domain name that has been designated for mobile users called .MOBI. However this is not widely known by users at this time.

You may consider using script to identify the header information for Windows Mobile devices so you can redirect their clients to the appropriate website. However not all users will want this feature especially if your mobile content is very limited. 

Optimizing the Content

So once you have a specific place to put content for mobile users, you should consider the design limitations of the mobile clients. One of the major changes compared to your desktop is the screen resolution. The common resolution of both Smartphone and Pocket PCs is 320 x 240. Even though there are devices that support larger displays, they are not very common. However HTML content needs to be smaller to prevent horizontal scrolling. I suggest that you use a width of 220 pixels for designing your website. Also, due to the narrow width you may find that the vertical design of web pages with navigation at the side may not be practical due to the small screen. Also, the use of graphics should take into account the screen size as well so that the graphics are sized properly to fit the screen.

When creating content for a mobile website, keep in mind that there are limitations of the client. Examples include limited versions of Javascript as well as no native support for Java, flash or other ActiveX controls which users can download on their PC.

Also, on the other hand you should be aware of some of the special features that Windows Mobile supports such as the ability to dial a phone number from a URL coded in HTML. This is done by coding the following HTML: <a ref="tel:9005551212">call</a>.  Users must be careful with this URL because they can be directed to call anywhere in the US, Canada or certain other countries in the Caribbean which may be long distance. Further with Windows Mobile 6, you can upload documents and files using HTTP Put.

It is ideal if the website designer can use a Windows Mobile device to test the newly designed content prior to placing it in production. 


By following this advice, your users can take advantage of your enterprise’s website while they are mobile and they will really appreciate the difference in the usability. This is especially true If your website takes advantage of the special capabilities of mobile devices.

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