Speaking Engagements & Private Workshops - Get Dean Bubley to present or chair your event

Need an experienced, provocative & influential telecoms keynote speaker, moderator/chair or workshop facilitator?
To discuss Dean Bubley's appearance at a specific event, contact information AT disruptive-analysis DOT com

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mobile websites

I am getting increasingly annoyed with mobile versions of websites. I really wish there was a way of configuring handset browsers (I'm using Safari on iPhone here) to permanently toggle to the full PC version of sites, if necessary by spoofing the ID it gives the server.

Many of my favourite sites have useless 'light' mobile versions and even if there's a link or switch to toggle the mobile version to 'off' it seems to revert the next time rather than using cookies or whatever to remember my preference.

Personally I want my Internet experience when mobile to be as close as possible to that I get on my desktop. It may not be a universal view but I cannot believe I'm alone in being irritated by site designers assuming I want a lousy half-cut version of their pages.

Yes, I can see the reason to "mobilise" websites very slightly - perhaps some tweaks because it is expecting touch rather than mouse, or browsers on devices with no "end of page" key. But complete redesigns are an anachronism, based on an expectation of 2G networks, limited browsers and small screens, in a time when we're moving to large screens, enough processor speed and zoom/pinch/drag tools to zoom around a full page.

I strongly suspect that much of this nonsense is down to "digital media agencies" and their ilk, insisting that their clients double their web spending to create mobile-specific sites. If I was running a larger site, I'd certainly make sure I got three or four separate opinions before running down this particular blind alley.



15 comments:

Steve said...

My HTC Hero has this option...

tott said...

Sorry Dean, but by personal experience and statistics from a mobile website hoster, you are an exception...

Dean Bubley said...

Tott, I'm probably one of a small % of people who even spot the link for the real site. The stats won't show how many people use the mobile version with gritted teeth or swearing at the designer. In my experience, the worst offender are blogs using Wordpress and Google Search.

Tom Hume said...

Picking up on one comment... I doubt agencies are doubling their budgets by asking for mobile versions of sites. In my experience, mobile budgets are still dwarfed by web.

I suspect some of this is down to history (devices only comparitively recently being worthwhile for browsing full-web), some down to there being quite a few shoddy full-web sites (a little "fat" for mobile consumption), and some down to, yes, mobile being a bit different.

Case in point: we've been doing some work for a broadcaster on "quiz" apps. The way you do these for touchscreen mobile devices is v different to how you'd present them on a large screen.

But... that said, good devices, decent use of style-sheets and a bit of naus would make quite a few full web sites better suited for mobile consumption. Which I think backs up the point you're making...

Steve Hanov said...

The worst part is when the site feels it should redirect every existing link into it to their mobile front page.

Instead of taking you to what you wanted to see, you get welcomed to their mobile site.

Thanks for wasting 5 seconds of my time. Now I will make a mental note to never visit you again. BACK!

Anonymous said...

Hi Dean, from your comment I would observe that what you are really after is a functional mobile website. Depending on the device (and the iPad sort of muddles things here), the screen real estate for a full wired website just isn't there and realistically, you'll get tired of panning and zooming pretty quickly. From my experience, most wired web design firms don't have a clue about how to design a mobile website. Perhaps that's why lots of companies are building apps that just use the web for transport. Given the fragmentation in mobile browsers, I'd wager that building a truly platform-neutral mobile website is well nigh impossible.

But your mileage may vary...

Dean Bubley said...

Anonymous: NO!

You are precisely wrong. I'd *much* rather do panning and zooming than have a "functional mobile website". I want one which looks as *identical as possible* to the PC-based web. I don't want cut-down functionality, I want pages I already know how to navigate.

If I like a news website, it's because it gives detailed articles with pictures and sidebars. I don't want some half-hearted summary version for the web, where I need to hunt around for links to the stuff that ought to be there anyway. Same deal with an airline site, a cinema website, a major IT company I'm researching or whatever.

So yes, my mileage varies from your idea very considerably.

Ian Homer said...

I'd absolutely agree with you that user choice should rule, so in your case (and I know you're not an exception) sites should have the ability to easily toggle your view to see the large screen version if they want to keep you as user.

However I do believe there are many people who do enjoy a mobile site that provides a focused experience targeted at different so it is equally important web sites to provide sites that provide a decent cross-channel experience.

Sites do need to satisfy both camps.

info said...

In the best of worlds, all web sites would be perfectly structured, fast loading and easy to navgiate on a mobile device with a small screen. But until this happens, I beleive there is a need for mobile sites. This interests me alot, to the extent I recently set up a service at www.posiphone.com, to offer a minimal mobile site for free. With options for paid enhancements. Take a look, and give me your comments./Staffan Solve

Anonymous said...

Just use Opera Mini.

Anonymous said...

Get a Nokia N900. It has the best browser currently available in mobiles, with full flash support.

No need of applications to interface the mobile with the already existing web pages.

arshad said...

Hi its really very nice i enjoyed a lot to visit..Handset Prices

Paul Jardine said...

It's ok to have a site designed for mobiles, as you say, for the use of touch and the different dynamics, but it's not ok to redirect someone there automatically. Some people will want the cut down experience, some want the full pages. In the future, the devices will be capable of much the same stuff, just that (as now with different monitors) the resolution available will be different.

alehia said...

I'm 100% with you on this one! I hate the mobile version of websites, I have motorola droid and would LOVE to know how to get it to NOT give me the mobile site, but the full functioning website I'm looking for!!

mobile prices in Pakistan said...

Dean 1 comment from my side for you is you can use opera mini .... its the best ....