(A version of this post is cross-posted at the University of Chicago Law School’s Electronic Projects Blog.)
Today I officially unveiled the Law School’s new mobile-optimized website. Users accessing the Law School’s website from a mobile device (with the exception of iPads) will now be automatically redirected to a version of our website that is specifically designed with mobile users in mind.
- A re-imagined information architecture, making it easy to find the information that, according to our research, is what our mobile users are usually looking for.
- Fewer images and other bells-and-whistles, so pages load more quickly (and with less drain on your data plan).
- Quick and easy means to find your way to and from the Law School, or to get contact information for faculty and staff.
When developing an institution’s mobile presence, there are many options. You can, for example, build native apps for iPhone, Android, etc., as the University has done; and certainly, there are advantages to that approach. However, given the limited staff for this project and the increasing proliferation of new mobile devices, we wanted to create a mobile presence that would be platform-independent (i.e., viewable on all devices, from iPhones to Droids to Blackberries, etc.). Luckily, the content management system we use for the Law School’s website, Drupal, is flexible, robust, and supported by an incredible community of contributors. By plugging in the Mobile Tools module and a modified version of the Mobile Garland theme, I was able to easily create a mobile site that serves up the same data as our standard site, repackaged in a mobile-friendly fashion.