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Welcome to brianmacintosh.com. I'm Brian MacIntosh, and I am a game programmer in the Orange County area of Southern California. This site serves to host and distribute some of my games and my blog, below.

I have developed games and apps for the XBox 360, Windows PC, iPad, Amazon Alexa, and Windows 7 Phone. I'm particularly interesting in procedural generation, pixel art, and emergent gameplay, and I'm looking forward to developing more games with these technologies.

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Magic Mobile Website Compatibility


January 31st, 2015 @ 21:39
Tags: site, html, mobile, random

I recently started working on making these pages more compatible with mobile devices. One piece of advice I found quickly was to include the following meta tag in my HTML header:

<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width,initial-scale=1">

It took me a bit longer to figure out exactly what this seemingly magic piece of code actually means for a site being rendered in a mobile browser, and to convince myself that yes, this code can magically make your website display much better on small mobile devices - but only if your website's CSS is already set up in a nice, size-independent way.

By default, mobile browsers assume that most of the internet is not designed to display well in a very small format. For that reason, they will render webpages at a large resolution more comparable to a desktop, and force the user to zoom and pan to see the content. What this code is actually doing is informing the browser that, yes, your content is fine to be displayed in a very small window - you are promising that it will resize itself and nothing will bleed off the page. This causes the browser to disable the extra-large render, freeing users from needing to zoom or scroll content sideways. So, if you've set up all your CSS to use percentages instead of fixed positions, it should result in an instant improvement in user experience as users can now simply scroll vertically through your content.

In my case, there was one other change needed to make this site's content mostly mobile-compatible. I often use screenshot images here, and those images are usually wider than a typical phone display, so I need them to scale down if the window is smaller than they are. This was accomplished easily enough by including the following CSS in the HTML header:

<style>img{max-width:100%;}</style>

Which simply instructs every img element on the page to be no wide than its parent element. Aspect ratio is preserved automatically.

There are plenty of other small UX adjustments that can be made, but now my site renders in a much more convenient format for visitors on phones.


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