This might sound like a stupid question but it’s been years since I had a non-smartphone. My questions are:

  1. How do non-smartphones render modern websites? I remember by old Sony Ericsson used to render a dumbed down version. Do they still do this?
  2. Is it worth considering non-smartphones in mobile design?

My standard approach to responsive web design involves a core stylesheet and then a media query to load either a mobile stylesheet or a desktop one (yes, one extra HTTP request but I’m fine with that). To appease earlier IE I use:


	test:'only all'),
	nope: 'desktop.css'


So IEs 7 and 8 get desktop.css (I rely on a shiv so old IE with no JavaScript is not catered for). It occurred to me though older phones and more basic ones may not support media queries and so will get the desktop version. So an additional question:

  1. Do any relatively new mobiles not support media queries (other than IEMobile 7).


It depends on your target market. In places like India, rural China, Africa and Latin America, a high proportion of people have feature phones (ie basic web capable but not smart phones). They still account for comfortably more than half of phones sold worldwide. On the other hand, if your target demographic is tech-savvy people in more affluent countries then smartphones have much better usage. There’s a good article today at

Great post!Most of us have our smartphones with us virtually all the time. There are thousands of applications that do thousands of different things accessible at the push of a button. And a few of them can even earn you a little extra pocket change. And who could not use more of that in this economy?

  1. My defunct Samsung Alias cell phone is not a smartphone, but it accesses the web. Its small screen is barely tolerable, but I can use it when its an emergency. I have not actually made a page to see what tags it reads or not reads, though.

  2. You’ll have to look at your visitor logs to see what the proportion of cellphone visitors you are drawing, and decide from that.

  3. Regarding Media Queries, try:

Stevie D, thanks. Small world, I’m born and bred North Yorks but live in Leeds now.

Thank you, but features-wise what is the average feature phone browser like? I am guessing no media queries or JavaScript. Or am I wrong?

Thanks for the caniuse link. I have seen that before; shame it doesn’t cover Windows mobiles or feature phones.

My method of making a responsive sites relies on JavaScript or media queries so just wondered what feature phone users were seeing. The core styles do loads regardless though so maybe I’ve inadvertently catered for feature phones without realising.

“the average feature phone browser like?” Unfortunately, it will vary by Android make and model. The vendors simply do not follow all specs, only a subset, and you’ll never know without testing on each device. As an phone app hobbyist, that’s not feasible for me.

By all means continue to use Javascript and media queries for your responsive site. Look at your logs to determine if you need to add more coding for a segment of your viewers on mobile.