Our New Mobile Website

Posted on August 4th, 2010 by

Our new mobile website design

Nobody had even heard of a smartphone when we first got the Internet at my house. Many websites were still designed with a web safe color palette of 216 colors and tiled backgrounds were the cool, new kid on the block. A MIDI and a scrolling marquee gave you street–or at least Internet–cred. In those days, the web was wild.

Fast forward to today–the web has completely transformed. Thanks to web standards and CSS, designers have been given increasing control over a website’s look and feel. Websites are now able to have actual aesthetic appeal, and, more importantly, these designs are now able to adapt to the various types of media they can be displayed on.

Since the iPhone and Android arrived, smartphone sales have skyrocketed. In fact, the adoption rate of this new class of phones has dramatically outpaced that of any previous technology. Experts predict that in 3 to 5 years, mobile web access will eclipse desktop web access. The mobile web is the exciting, new frontier.

Luckily, these phones actually have decent web browsers. This enables web designers to deliver very rich web experiences to mobile devices.

At Gustavus we have taken the first steps at making our website flexible enough to work well on a phone. This week, we began implementing some new stylesheets that should make most of our pages work pretty well on phones. Desktop users shouldn’t notice any difference (unless they shrink their browser windows way down), and mobile users will be able to have a more usable website. This is called responsive web design. And, in responsive web design, everybody wins.

However, since mobile is a new space for us, some adjusting will need to happen along the way. If you happen to notice a page that could use a little extra attention or just want to tell us what you think, please let us know–leave a comment here, click on the red feedback button on any page, or send an email to web@gustavus.edu.

Happy browsing!



  1. Kevin Seitz says:

    That’s pretty slick — good job Web Team. While I have never seen a website change its layout substantially based on window size, this could be useful on a netbook or other situations when you want a smaller window.

    (Maybe it’s just me, but that little feedback button has mysteriously disappeared in the compact view.)

    • Joe Lencioni says:

      Thanks! Yes, something like this could be useful on a netbook. There are so many different types of devices and it is tough to juggle them all especially when we don’t have unlimited resources to buy devices to test on. We hope that this is at least a good start in the right direction.

      As for the feedback button, yes we hid it in the compact view for now–good eye. It may make a return sometime.

  2. […] to streamline the mobile experience, we have been using stylesheets to hide the AuxBox for all mobile devices. The AuxBox was still […]

  3. pmcdougl says:

    I really like the mobile site, but there are certain things that I would love to get to on my iPod touch that I just can’t get to (I can’t currently think of any examples, but I know there are some). It would be great if there was an option to go to the regular site on the bottom like on mobile facebook.

    • Joe Lencioni says:

      Thanks for the suggestion. However, with the way that we implemented this (using media queries in a single stylesheet), I don’t think this is possible.

      If you can think of anything that you are unable to get to, please let me know–I’d love to fix any problems like this.