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HTML & XHTML: The Definitive Guide, 6th Edition by Bill Kennedy, Chuck Musciano

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Device Considerations

When designing content for mobile devices, the developer needs to keep many design constraints in mind. If the developer neglects any one of them, the resulting web pages will be difficult if not impossible to use on the mobile web. We suggest that the successful mobile web designer always keep browser, input, network, and display constraints in mind to keep from getting in a bind.[*]

Browser Constraints

Browser variations present the biggest challenge to the mobile web content designer. Limited by the host device, mobile browsers cannot support the full range of tags available in a conventional desktop browser. For those tags that are supported, implementation is not consistent across a range of mobile devices. As a result, designers need to carefully consider which tags they will use in their content and often have to sacrifice more complicated page designs in favor of simpler pages that display correctly on a larger number of devices.

Beyond tag availability, mobile browsers may or may not support scripting, stylesheets, frames, embedded objects, layers, cookies, and other support structures within the page content. Even widely supported <meta> tags, such as refresh tags, may not be supported. In general, cautious designers will avoid any of these elements in their content. While the resulting content will certainly be simpler, it is guaranteed to be viewable on many devices. Unlike desktop browsers that try to muddle through when presented with unsupported ...

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