Are you reading this blog on a PC/Mac? If so, the following 3-page article will not seem out of the ordinary:

http://www.infoworld.com/d/mobilize/what-the-tablet-wars-are-really-about-544

But if you are reading this on an iPhone, something is decidedly lacking in the InfoWorld piece. On a positive note, most of the ads & banners are gone, but that’s not what I am referring to…

Doesn’t the article seem to drop off in the middle of a point, with no clear conclusion? That’s because there is no page 2 or page 3!

InfoWorld, in their infinite wisdom, redirects mobile platform access of the ‘www’ site to a specialized ‘mobile’ site. But the mobile rendering does not offer all the same functionality – particularly in the form of critical NEXT and PREVIOUS buttons – that regular surfers would take for granted. Don’t they realize that their content is being served incompletely to their mobile audience?

Its very frustrating when mobile versions of web sites are not as functional as their un-optimized counterparts. But it’s even more ironic when the site in question – the “Mobilize” blog – is supposedly geared towards the mobile community.

Mobile-optimized web sites are not unique. But fer cryin’ out loud, do it right! InformationWeek newsletters suffer from this same InfoWorld affliction. The newsletter itself is fine, but the links are often bollucksed up. If I click on a specific headline in the email, I am redirected – not to a mobile version of that article, but sometimes to a mobile-optimized headline summary page. In other words, they lose the article’s relative URL context during the redirect and take you to the main page, so it takes an extra click to get where I originally intended. Worse still is if the email headline does not even exist as a corresponding splash screen headline – now, no matter how much I scroll around, I can’t even find what I was aiming for!

I am spoiled because I am mobile-surfing from an iPhone, which is a full-featured browser on a small screen. I supposed if I was surfing from an older semi-smartphone that benefited from simplified WAP rendering, I would be appreciative of an optimized site. But these days, many mobile devices need no such web-page dumbing down. Apple’s Safari and Android’s webkit-based browser work just as well on mobile devices as they do on their larger brethren, and they have magnify capability to accommodate even the smallest pixel-widget.

So if you maintain a browser-sensitive web site that tries to optimize for the rendering platform, it may be time to adjust your check of browser strings. Maybe iPhone and Android are no longer candidates for WAP optimization? Or at least provide a link to the non-optimized version! Many mobile devices are more than capable of handling a full-screen web site and do not need a handicapped presentation if there is going to be a loss of information as collateral damage.

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