chevron Newwave Solutions

Mobile web development: An ultimate guide for beginners

Mobile App
May 23, 2024
img-blog Newwave Solutions

There are 8.1 billion people worldwide, and about 7.1 of whom own smartphones, according to a recent survey by Statista. This proves that mobile web development is getting more prominent than ever. 

Poorly designed websites usually load slower and suffer from display distortions. If you want to avoid these problems, our article will break down all the important factors and help you with cutting-edge mobile web development service.

Mobile web development – an overview 


What is a mobile web?

When someone mentions “mobile web,” they refer to websites or web applications specifically designed for smartphones or tablets. Unlike traditional desktop websites, which may not display properly on smaller screens, both of these forms are tailored to accommodate the unique constraints and capabilities of mobile devices. 

To understand the key differences between mobile websites and mobile web applications, take a look at this table: 

Aspect Mobile Websites Mobile Web Apps
Development Typically built using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Developed using web technologies but often wrapped in a native container for distribution.
Access Accessed via web browsers. Installed as standalone applications from app stores.
Installation No installation required; accessed directly through a URL. Installation is required; can be accessed via an app icon.
Functionality Limited functionality compared to native apps. Often focuses on delivering content or basic interactions. Can offer enhanced functionality and interactivity similar to native apps, including offline capabilities and access to device features.
Updates Updates are immediate and do not require user action. Updates may require user interaction to install, depending on the distribution method.
Performance Performance may be limited, especially on older devices or slower network connections. Performance can be optimized for speed and responsiveness, but may not match the performance of native apps.
Offline functionality Limited offline functionality; typically requires an internet connection. Can offer offline capabilities through caching and storage mechanisms.
User Engagement May have lower user engagement compared to native apps. Can potentially achieve higher user engagement through push notifications, deep linking, and other native-like features.

As you can see, each has its own strengths and weaknesses. The decision between mobile websites and mobile web apps depends on various factors, including your specific goals, target audience, budget, and required features. 

Regardless of your choice, both options share mutual precautions due to the differences between desktop and mobile platforms.

>>> See more: Reduce your expenses by leveraging Top 10 IT outsourcing companies in Vietnam

Desktop VS mobile as a platform – a quick comparison


Here is a quick overview of the main differences between mobile and desktop platforms:

  • Mobile devices have smaller hardware and generally possess fewer hardware resources than desktops
  • Reduced screen sizes lead to unique challenges and considerations in UX/UI design 
  • Unlike traditional input devices like keyboards, touchscreen technology forces developers to find new interaction concepts for mobile web development
  • Mobile devices may experience less reliable internet connectivity compared to hard-wired broadband connections, potentially resulting in slower data transfer speeds

While these differences seem challenging at first, with careful plans, they shouldn’t be much of a hurdle. The amazing thing about touchscreen technology is the way it maximizes users’ interaction with your mobile website or web app. What’s more, in this modern world, mobile platforms can accompany users wherever they go. 

Thus, what we should do is consider the differences and find efficient ways to deliver our content. In case you still don’t know how to do that, the next sections will help. 

Factors you should consider for mobile web development 

Optimize your images

As mentioned, mobile device users often suffer from slower data transfer speeds. Thus, if you forget to optimize your images, your mobile web will be slowed down. Unoptimized images consume the site’s storage, requiring substantial bandwidth to load. 

As a mobile web developer, you wouldn’t want to hear your users complain about loading speed. Consider this aspect for your mobile app development to avoid this scenario: 

  • File format: Some formats can take up more space than others, so choose the appropriate one. For instance, use JPEG instead of PNG to optimize image size if you don’t need super high-quality pics. 
  • Image quantity: Excessive images on a single page significantly impede loading times. Only include images where necessary to maintain optimal performance.
  • Dimensions: Avoid excessively high-resolution images as they demand more bandwidth. Lower-resolution images can still provide satisfactory viewing experiences, especially on mobile devices with smaller screens.
  • Caching: Caching helps returning viewers load images faster. This reduces the need to fetch resources directly from the host server.

Minimize HTTP requests


HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) requests are communications between a client (such as a web browser or a mobile app) and a server to retrieve or send data. When a user accesses a web page or interacts with a mobile app, the client sends HTTP requests to the server to retrieve resources (such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, images, and other content) needed to render the page or perform specific actions. 

Now, why do these requests slow down your mobile web? Each of them adds latency to the loading process. Latency is the time it takes for data to travel from the client to the server and back.  Optimizing your images is one of the things you can do to minimize HTTP requests, but there are still other practices: 

  • Combine and minify files: Reduce the number of separate CSS and JavaScript files by combining them into fewer files. For example, bundle all CSS files into one and all JavaScript files into another. Additionally, minify these files by removing unnecessary whitespace, comments, and line breaks to reduce file size.
  • Use Content Delivery Networks (CDNs): Utilize CDNs to distribute static assets across multiple servers closer to the user’s location. This reduces latency and improves download speeds for users worldwide.
  • Practice asynchronous loading: Load non-essential resources asynchronously using techniques like asynchronous JavaScript loading or deferred script loading. This allows critical resources to be loaded first, improving perceived performance while non-critical resources load in the background.

Consider the offline user experience

Many people overlook this in their mobile web development process. However, offline experience can significantly improve users’ satisfaction, especially when they are on the go. 

Here are a few suggestions to ensure a seamless offline experience for your mobile web app:

  • Progressive Web App (PWA) Features: Leverage PWA technologies to enable offline capabilities for your mobile web development. Implement service workers to cache essential resources, such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and critical data, allowing users to access content even when they’re offline.
  • Offline content storage: Store offline-accessible content locally on the user’s device using browser storage mechanisms like localStorage, IndexedDB, or Web SQL Database. Pre-cache frequently accessed data and assets to ensure they’re available offline.
  • Offline data syncing: Implement mechanisms for offline data synchronization to ensure that user-generated content or updates are synced with the server when connectivity is restored. Queue data sync tasks and retry failed sync attempts to accommodate intermittent network conditions.

A step-by-step guide to mobile web development

Step 1: Choose an approach for your mobile web development


The first step in web and app development for mobile is to decide on an approach. There are three main options to consider:

  • Responsive Web Design (RWD): For this approach, you will create a single website that adapts its layout and content based on the screen size of the device. Using flexible grids and CSS media queries, responsive design ensures that your site looks good and functions well across various devices and screen sizes.
  • Adaptive Web Design: Unlike responsive design, adaptive web design involves creating multiple versions of a website, each optimized for specific screen sizes. This approach allows for greater control over the user experience on different devices but requires more development time and maintenance.
  • Mobile-First Design: With the increasing dominance of mobile devices, some developers opt for a mobile-first approach, where they design and develop the mobile version of the website first and then progressively enhance it for larger screens. This strategy prioritizes mobile users’ needs and ensures a fast and efficient browsing experience.

Once you have decided on an approach, choose a tool for your web and mobile app development. We have many useful tools available for this job, which we will discuss later. 

Step 2: Work on the mobile web design 

Next in mobile app development, we have the creative step – giving your work a look and vibe. As discussed, mobile screens have limited space, so it is best to prioritize simplicity and clarity in your design. Streamline navigation, minimize text, and use concise headings to guide users through your site.

Unlike desktops, mobile devices rely on touch gestures for navigation. Ensure that buttons and links are large enough to tap easily and that interactive elements are spaced out to prevent accidental touches.

Step 3: Create a prototype

Before diving into full-scale development, create a prototype of your mobile website to test its functionality and user experience. Prototyping tools like Adobe XD, Sketch, or Figma allow you to create interactive mockups of your design, enabling you to gather feedback from stakeholders and identify any potential issues early on.

When creating your prototype, focus on:

  • Navigation: Test how easy it is for users to navigate through your site and find the information they need.
  • Interactivity: Ensure interactive elements like buttons, forms, and menus function correctly on mobile devices.
  • Responsiveness: Test your prototype across various devices and screen sizes to ensure it adapts seamlessly to different environments.

Step 4: Test and debug

Now that you have a wireframe and complete all the essential things, it is time for testing. Conducting testing is a crucial part of mobile app development, as it ensures everything works smoothly. 

You can assess your site directly across various browsers with your smartphone or tablet. Platforms like Expo let you evaluate your site’s performance across various devices and operating systems. It doesn’t provide browser compatibility analysis, though, which is a downside. 

If you need a compatibility assessment, a browser-based web and app development tool, such as Google Chrome’s DevTools, will come in handy. You may debug and edit your site’s code within the same screen. 

Step 5 (optimal): Convert your mobile website to an app


If you are done with mobile web development and still want a mobile web app, here is some good news: You don’t necessarily have to build an application from scratch. Web app wrappers like Apache Cordova and PhoneGap allow you to convert your mobile website into iOS and Android applications. 

This approach is quick and cost-effective but may not provide the best user experience. Depending on your budget and project requirements, you may want to develop a native app specific to each platform (iOS and Android). This offers the best performance and user experience but requires more resources and time. 


Why is mobile web development important?

Mobile web development is crucial because of the increasing usage of mobile devices for internet browsing. With a significant portion of web traffic coming from mobile devices, it’s essential for businesses to have mobile-friendly websites to reach and engage their target audience effectively.

What are the key principles of mobile web development?

Key principles of mobile web development include responsive design, which ensures that websites adapt to different screen sizes and orientations, optimized performance for faster loading times on mobile networks, and intuitive navigation for touch-based interactions.

What technologies are commonly used in mobile web development?

Common technologies used in mobile web development include HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript for building the structure, styling, and interactivity of mobile websites. Frameworks and libraries like Bootstrap, Foundation, and jQuery Mobile are also popular for streamlining development and ensuring cross-browser compatibility.

What are progressive web apps (PWAs), and how do they relate to mobile web development?

Progressive web apps (PWAs) are web applications that leverage modern web technologies to provide an app-like experience to users, including offline access, push notifications, and home screen installation.

PWAs blur the line between web and native apps, offering the advantages of both. They are relevant to mobile web development as they provide a more engaging and immersive experience for users on mobile devices.

Wrapping up

Mobile web development is a fundamental aspect of modern web design and an essential consideration for businesses. With the widespread use of smartphones and tablets for internet browsing, creating mobile-friendly websites has become imperative to reach and engage audiences effectively.

While you can undertake this project internally, hiring a professional tech agency like Newwave Solutions to handle the job ensures expertise, quality assurance, and risk mitigation. Reach out to us at: 

  • Head Office (Hanoi): 1F, 4F, 10F, Mitec building, Duong Dinh Nghe street, Yen Hoa ward, Cau Giay district, Hanoi city, Vietnam
  • Branch Office (Tokyo): 1-chōme-11-8 Yushima, Bunkyo City, Tokyo 113-0034, Japan
  • Hotline: (+84) 985310203

Email: [email protected]


To Quang Duy is the CEO of Newwave Solutions, a leading Vietnamese software company. He is recognized as a standout technology consultant. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Newwave Solutions Hotline Newwave Solutions Email Newwave Solutions Whatsapp