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April 09, 2010

Our team rolled out the U-M Gateway mobile site

We did a soft launch of Mobile Michigan, the University of Michigan mobile Gateway, a few weeks back. It is currently an alpha release, but expect big improvements in the near future.

The mobile site is optimized primarily for the iPhone, which makes up 90% or more of our mobile device traffic, and is poised to surpass total Linux visitors (both mobile and desktop). But it’s linear design should render well on most small screens. Mobile device support is a top priority at the University of Michigan.

We plan to do more exhaustive mobile device testing and detection in the coming months, optimize download speed, streamline the design and content for the mobile experience, and add features that will be useful in the mobile context. Rumor has it there will soon be a U-M iPhone app as well.

Additionally, our full graphic site has offered mobile device support for the last four years via a layered system of handheld style sheets, one of the first U-M sites to do so. A text-only version of the U-M Gateway has also been available for over 15 years, offering mobile visitors a fast and simple cross-platform browsing option.

We also employ full separation of presentation and content, proper source ordering, well-structured and valid markup, good linearization, and follow an array of accessibility standards and best practices, allowing our site to display and function well without style sheets, images, JavaScript, or Flash enabled.

We plan to make the graphic Gateway even more mobile-friendly in the next redesign as well. For those who find the full graphic version of the U-M Gateway a bit sluggish on slower handheld devices or cellular networks, we highly recommend using our mobile website, which is much more optimized for these conditions. That said, we regularly browse the graphic site on our iPhones and find it quite usable. Your mileage may vary.

With the growing popularity of iPhones, tablets, netbooks, Android smartphones, and other handheld devices, the mobile web is here to stay and the University of Michigan is committed to embracing this new world and bringing you the information and services you need, where and when you need them. This is an exciting time, so stay tuned for more developments by following our mobile development blog or the U-M Gateway development blog.

Posted by levi at April 9, 2010 03:34 AM