Monday, 10 May 2010

How to create a mobile version of your site or blog in minutes

'In minutes' means without having to use any code, redesign it, create a new version or anything else.

There are free platforms that can automatically convert your existing site into a version that works very effectively on mobile phones. All you need is a site with a feed url.

I’ve used Mippin Mobilizer to create a mobile version of the blog that accompanies my multimedia journalism project You can see the finished version my tapping into your web-enabled mobile device.

Here’s what you do

First get your feed url. My blog is on blogger so I get it under settings, feeds and cut and paste it into Mippin where requested.
Immediately your site is pulled into the preview panel on Mippin.


Next step is to customise it. In particular, you need to create a logo that works in the tiny space available: 120x30 pixels.

I did that on Picnik. This is a very simple editing device, the use of which is covered in detail on pages 430-433 of the book version of Multimedia Journalism: A Practical Guide.

You have to keep things very simple. I took the branding on my website and accompanying blog, and adapted it, keeping the background, typeface and colour palette in line with them both.

You also choose the colours for your header, text, links and so on.

A very similar mobile builder,, also allows you to create a customised logo that will appear as a navigation button you can load into your mobile’s opening screen. (More on Ovi below)

Mippin gives you a generic one, but you do get to put your mobile site’s title beneath it


Next step is to set your url. It comes in this form
You can add a button, which takes you to this mobile version, to your website, either by clicking on a button, for Typepad or Blogger, or by cutting and pasting a bit of code.

Things Mippin doesn't like
Pictures can confuse it, so keep them to a minimim, adn don't try running text aroudn them. The four images I originally had in this post all bunxched together above the text in the mobile version.

Mippin also won't replicte a link embedded in text, so you need to leave the full url visible in your text.

A bit of background

The first mobiliser platform I found was Ovi, which is run by Nokia and designed to create mobile sites for access from Nokia phones. It was simple to use but, two days later, I was still waiting for it to go through the pre-publication approval process and, because I wasn’t sure that the site I’d created could be viewed on phones not made by Nokia, I looked around for an alternative.

When I tried to register at Mippin it said I already was, and when I tried the same log-on details I’d set up fror Ovi, I found the mobile site I’d created. So I went ahead and published it on Mippin, just redesigning the logo which I discovered was not easily readable. That has yet to update at the tiem of writing.

Maybe Ovi will publish me too. I’ll update this if they do.

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