Common Issues In Responsive Design Development Process

Making sure a website renders optimally on various device screen sizes via responsive design is a satisfying exercise for a website developer, and I went through this exercise recently. Of course, I ran into my share of bugs during the process. Below are 3 of the issues I ran into and what (if anything) can be done about them.

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Converting to Responsive Design With CSS

Recently I went through the process of converting several websites into responsive design. For those who are not familiar, the concept of responsive design is to make sure the website renders nicely on both desktop and mobile devices by serving up different CSS stylesheets depending on the screen width.

Below are the steps I took to convert the sites (the starting point is a non-mobile optimized website):

1. Add the following code into the <head> section:

<meta name=”viewport” content=”width=device-width, initial-scale=1, maximum-scale=1, minimum-scale=1″ />

This statement will make sure the website renders correctly on your mobile device.

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Mobile Analytics – Comparing AdMob, Bango, and Google Analytics

In looking through my website analytics data, I realized that a portion of my visitors are visiting my sites from a mobile device. Therefore, a recent project has been to convert one of my sites to be mobile-friendly.

Once the site is up and running, I need to know the traffic going to the mobile site. There are several mobile analytics programs available, so I decided to pick 3 of them: AdMob, Bango, and Google Analytics, and compare their results. I also analyzed my web server log for that one day to provide a reference.

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Please, Use UTF-8 Encoding

As internet communities grow, the lines between different languages are blurred. No longer are communities geared towards any particular language, but communities are likely to be consisting of many different languages.

Where am I going with this? Well, I have been noticing that some of the Web 2.0 sites are not yet using UTF-8 encoding. As a result, it is difficult for people in double-byte countries to use such services. An example is BlogCatalog. If you look at the source code of that site, you’ll see that the site is using character set iso-8859-1, which is for single-byte languages only. Being a blog listing service, this essentially means that they have precluded blogs from countries using double-byte languages from being listed, and it will be very difficult for them to attract visitors from countries using double-byte languages.

If you are an enterpreneur planning on launch the next great Web 2.0 site, do yourself and everyone else a favor: encode your site in UTF-8 (that’s the unicode standard most often seen). Better yet, make sure the functionalities you offer work in other languages. This way, everyone in the world can use your great site.

How to Change Encoding in MagpieRSS

Including RSS feeds in your website is a good idea, and MagpieRSS is probably the most popular tool. The default encoding for this tool, however, is in “ISO-8859-1″, which means it won’t be able to display Unicode characters properly. Therefore, some tweaking is needed if you want to use RSS feeds in languages other than English.

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