XHTML Basic, mobile web, and another emulator

I was quite surprised by the traffic spike I got from my last post asking if your site can be viewed in a mobile phone, and even though only one person commented, it seems that a lot of web developers or mobile phone users might actually be interested in making sure their website is capable of being viewed on the screen of a portable device like a mobile phone or pda.

So, yesterday I did some research into XHTML Basic, which seems to be the new standard. Crucially its very similar to regular XHTML, but it has its own doctype, although I believe that any xhtml doctype might still work with most mobile browsers. Also, every device seems to render pages differently, and I’m suspecting the issue of cross-browser compatibility for mobiles might strain template designers even more than the ever present FF/IE debate.

Yospace phone emulators, phones from all major manufacturers
XHTML emulator using Nokia N70 or Sony K750
i-mode emulator using either Japanese or European mobile

So far it seems that my site is visible, and can be navigated around using all of the popular modern phones, but it doesn’t look pretty, and frankly I think a couple of things need to be sorted out quite urgently. I really need to implement some skip to links, and secondly, my categories and tags are a mess when you don’t see the page in context. Up till now I’ve been happily adding entries to my categories assuming that site visitors will understand what they mean, but I realised that in fact they are not all that intuitive when viewed separately.

More disappointing is what the various browsers leave out or ignore because they don’t render the stylesheet correctly. I noticed that for example the Nokia N70 emulator at Yospace tried to interpret the page and tried to place my navigation menu at the top of the page before the entries yet the links didn’t work, and the categories links failed to display, but then using the same emulator to view the html page (its a link that appears at the very bottom of the emulator screen), those links now work as expected.

So, here’s a request to anyone who has a mobile phone with Internet access. Do me a favour and view my site on your mobile’s screen, then comment below and let me know if anything is missing. If your mobile device renders the page correctly (or even if it just displays the content then the sidebars correctly) let me know.

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