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Web Pages for PDA and Cell Phone Users

Some hints for creating Web pages for handheld devices

  • Keep it simple! - Simple pages are much easier to adapt than complex pages.

  • Avoid "bells and whistles" - Popup menus, javascript and other special effects may have mixed results with handhelds.

  • XHTML and CSS are your friends - XHTML/CSS are compatible with more types of devices than HTML.

  • Forget about WAP - Wireless Application Protocol has been largely superceded by XHTML and CSS.

  • Avoid tables! - They may force users to scroll horizontally, along with other problems.

Style sheets for handheld devices

This is easier than you might think. If you already use a CSS file for your page, then you're half-way there!

  1. When you link to your regular CSS file, make sure to choose Screen as the Media.

  2. When creating your CSS file for handheld users, it might be easiest to copy the original styles into the new file and delete the styles that are not needed, or modify them to suit the handheld display.

  3. Link the handheld CSS file to your page, making sure to choose Handheld as the Media.

Some hints for a handheld CSS file:

  • Link your handheld CSS file, don't import it - Some handhelds may not understand the import command.

  • Turn off the images if not needed! This is easily accomplished with the following style:

        img {display: none;}

  • If you use CSS to position page elements, they can be turned OFF in your handheld stylesheet. Here's an example. The first line is a comment:

        /*Left side nav bar, turned OFF for handhelds*/
        #Navigation {display: none;}


  • Place important information/links as high on the page as possible and as far to the left as possible. Otherwise, handheld users have to engage in a frustrating hunt through your page.

  • Narrow your page, if you can! This will reduce horizontal scrolling for handheld users.The optimum width for a handheld display is 150-200px.

Resources for XHTML and Handheld Page Creation