Browse the web on your phone much? I do, across multiple phones and tablets, and it can be a very inconsistent experience. According to my site analytics my mobile visitors are dominated by the iOS platform (second place is not even close). In response most of my attention was focused on how my site looks on the iPhone and iPad (still a work in progress).  Quite coincidentally, this week the Internet Explorer team published an article The Mobile Web should just work for everyone, which talked about the upcoming Windows Phone 8.1 Update which “greatly increase compatibility with the mobile web”.

Based on your feedback, we pursued a web experience for IE users consistent with what is available on iOS and Android devices – even where this meant we would be adding non-standard web platform features. We believe that this is a more pragmatic approach to running today's less-standardised mobile web.

I completely understand why they would do this but it seems like a really polite way of saying we are creating a shim that allows the web to treat us just like an iOS device. I applaud how Microsoft is approaching a mobile reality, that it almost wholly is owned by others. It also reaffirms part of the new global mantra (“…mobile first”), but in doing so they have gone a long way in conceding the future of the mobile web standards to iOS. I can only assume it puts the folks working on IE in a reactionary position from which it will be almost impossible to back track.

Here is a published example of how that change would positively effect a popular site like Twitter on Windows Phone:

2055_twitter-before2451_twitter-after

Mobile Solutions

As a web developer I have found the best approach has been to use a framework that account for the greatest variety of devices, and after spending a considerable amount of time evaluating a crop of web UI frameworks I settled in on Bootstrap. It was created by a couple of designers at Twitter, and in the face of an increasingly mobile world it has flourished into a really popular front-end framework suitable for big screens all the way down to smart phones.

Feel free to check out my CSS (like I could stop you) and more importantly explore the Bootstrap site itself for some basic layout examples. If you are looking for some really strong design samples check out the Bootstrap Expo (curated by @mdo).

Additional Reading