I'm implementing a mobile-friendly version of our corporate web site and will be using WURFL to detect mobile browsers and redirect them to our mobile site. Having recently purchased an Android tablet, I've found that many sites consider it to be a mobile device even though it has a large 10" screen and it's perfectly capable of handling sites designed using standard desktop resolutions.

My plan is to use WURFL, examine the device capabilities and treat anything with a resolution width of less than 700px as a mobile device, but I'd like some input as to that sweet spot for determining mobile vs desktop.

  • I'm not trying to be clever, but anything that doesn't need to be plugged in, is surely mobile?
    – Anonymous
    Aug 30, 2011 at 19:58
  • The way I see it is: Mobile started off meaning cellphones, so anything that has the ability to make phone calls is a mobile device. Then anything with WIFI access is the second kind of mobile device you get. The operating system is probably your best indicator of if it's a mobile device. Remember, it's not just whether or not to give the mobile or full website, but rather ask the question "What input method is this device using?" e.g. Touch devices need a different experience to the full web websites that usually cater for mouse based input. Aug 31, 2011 at 7:19

2 Answers 2


As the definition of mobile in the way you're using it is really about screen resolution I'd use CSS media queries to select different stylesheets. This is a different approach to having a "mobile" version of your site, but with the proliferation of devices is going to be better in the long run. It also means that you don't have to maintain two versions of the site. Here's an example of using a media query:

<link rel='stylesheet' media='screen and (min-width: 701px) and (max-width: 900px)' href='css/medium.css' />

@Chris: It depends. My laptop is a mobile device, my netbook and also my mobile phone.

On topic: What I would do is gather every gadget available on your corporate site and try to view your website with it. I have a 15inch laptop and a 10.1 inch netbook, which both can be considered standalone computers and not mobile devices. On the laptop my website looks perfect, but when I try to view it from the netbook a column gets shifted to the bottom of the website. Not good.

Do you have some analytics for your website? What are the resolutions of the devices which generally view your website?

I would get the top 5 or 10 resolutions and make the site optimized for them. If your tablet has a 10" resolution and you can see your website perfectly on it, why optimize? Maybe you could tweak a bit the site to be lighter in terms of graphics, but overall if you think your site doesn't need a mobile version for a particular gadget then don't make it. Will save time and you can do more important stuff.

Anyway, also make sure your mobile versions keep a lot of functionality and are not there for the sake of being there. Make some research before starting to digg into it.

  • Thanks Daniel, that's pretty much the approach I took. I used Google Analytics to look at the common resolutions using our site and found a good cutoff point. Oct 14, 2011 at 14:28
  • Pro-tip: Make sure you're not redirecting Googlebot. I found this out the hard way. :( Oct 27, 2011 at 21:09

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