Thursday, December 6, 2018

Comprehensive mobile support

When the forum first unveiled its beginning of support towards low-resolution and undercutting-density panels, a wide variety of features which would typically be available were either disabled (using the stylesheet) or inaccessible, on mobile phones.  Over time, this gradually improved...

The issue came up once I started routinely examine analytics to see what could improve my site, and to my surprise, a grand portion of viewer traffic had originated from mobile phones.  Given that the site was never intended for mobile browsing, this was unexpected, but concurrently given how our net somewhat centers around wireless technology, it made sense.

My highest priority was chiefly insignificant; I wanted all forum icons to be generated from vector data and incorporate no image file whatsoever.  This is beneficialnot only in that vector images bare no resolution and tend to look more attractive on later panelsbut, when compressed, they are more lightweight and quick-to-load than the bitmap image.  Thus, what I did was redraw all the icons using Inkscape (my go-to vector editing tool, for its likeness to the GNU Image Manipulator), compress them with Nano, and replace all software references to their bitmap counterparts with the aforementioned, newly-created vector edition.

Afterwards, I appended the usual HTML prerequisites and began suiting the PHP with double-elements (using two identical elements: one for desktop, one for mobile  and enabling/disabling each one based on the respective environment), setting maximum-width medium tags, and lightening the experience en total to fasten esoForum.

In the end, this really paid off.  The forum has significantly grown in popularity since these changes were pushed to the live site, and an amount (if not the majority) of our users primarily, or solely, operate through a mobile experience.


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