The Path to a Mobile Drupal: Techniques, Tools and Failure

conference: Drupalcon London 2011, London

The Path to a Mobile Drupal: Techniques, Tools and Failure – The Wile E. Coyote Session on Mobile Drupal

Recently, I received an email invite for a webinar on mobile device development. I tried to sign up via my iphone, but was told that my mobile device wasn’t supported. True story.

As mobile device usage grows exponentially, the web developer community’s assumptions about user experience are being challenged. We’re realizing that what we thought we knew about how to build web sites was becoming too formulaic, treating our users as cookie cutter entities. Fortunately, many have started exploring ways to deliver appropriate user experiences, not just for “mobile” users, but for all users.

The main approaches we’re exploring can be summarized:

  • Responsive designs
  • Adaptive designs
  • Mobile First sites
  • Mobile only sites

But what is the right path for Drupal to take? What’s the right path so our users are given an experience tailored for their needs? What are the right questions to ask when building a new site? I’ll give you a hint; it’s not “What mobile devices should we support?”

In this session, we’ll discuss the main approaches to “mobile development“, try to define the mobile context, explore technology like media queries, fluid grids, and responsive images, and explore tools like adapt.js, 320 and Up, and WURFL. And one critical element that is often overlooked: performance.

Finally, we’ll look at how Drupal is uniquely positioned above most frameworks to provide mobile solutions: Its low cost of failure.