Design Considerations of the Weaver II Mobile View
Designing the Weaver II Mobile View was not an easy process. There are always tradeoffs, and I hope I’ve made it possible to use the mobile support in a flexible way.
One of the key design elements of Weaver II (which was borrowed from Twenty Eleven, I must acknowledge) is the use of the CSS max-width attribute by default. This contrasts to the original Weaver (via Twenty Ten), which uses simply width. Using max-width allows flexible width based on the actual screen width of the browser. This is also why all the other widths (including sidebars) are expressed in percentage now. So as the site visitor shrinks the browser window, everything else shrinks to fit the width space available. And this works great down to 500 or 600 px. But then the sidebars start getting in the way.
So working with sidebars is one of the major elements one has to work with a mobile design. The practical approach used by virtually 100% of mobile specific sites is to not use sidebars – to keep everything in one column. Of course, this does reduce information previously available in the sidebars. Weaver II’s solution for that (and I think it might be a unique solution at the moment) is to include an extra widget area that is displayed between the content and the footer. This keeps the site very readable, while still allowing for that kind of commonality across the site provided by sidebars. Not perfect, but way more flexible than most other mobile themes.
I think the main advantage of using Weaver II’s mobile view is the perception your site gives to visitors using mobile devices. They will see that you’ve gone to the trouble to create a site that is friendly on mobile devices. And given the growing numbers of this audience, I believe it is important to do that.
A lot of the Weaver II mobile design was prompted by interaction with my own kids, especially my daughter. She fairly recently got a smartphone, and I have been amazed at just how much she uses it. Same with all my kids’ friends (college age and just above). So if there is anything on your site that is likely to be viewed by smartphone users, no matter their age, then it really is essential that your site present a dedicated mobile view.
And that is the beauty of Weaver II. It will do that automatically. With no action at all, you get a really great looking mobile site. With just a few tweaks available via options and shortcodes, you can include mobile features in your site that will set it apart from most web sites out there.
And for those with different design needs, Weaver II still offers the option to either skip mobile support altogether (with the combination of set fixed theme width and disable mobile support), or allowing support by one of the mobile theme plugins for those who might be in the “big horizontal bar” camp of mobile browsing.