Thoughts On Mobile Websites

February 4, 2012 — 2 Comments

This is a post that I wrote in November of last year. I didn’t publish it at the time as I wasn’t 100% sure about my convictions. At the moment I feel pretty convinced of my thoughts, but having said that, I’m not a professional web developer by any means. My thoughts on mobile websites are just that, my thoughts. Let me know what you think about mobile websites in the comments below. In the meantime, read my thoughts from last year.

Let me just get this out there, mobile versions of websites frustrate me.

As someone who regularly views websites on either his iPhone or iPad, I’m used to browsing the web on the go. And I really like it, I like the ability to have the internet in my pocket. But I find it frustrating when I come across this.

iPhone Screenshot of ProBlogger.net

Mobile Version of ProBlogger.net

6.4% of all internet usage is now on a mobile device (via Net Market Share), which may not seem like a lot at the moment. But some people are predicting that by 2015, mobile web usage will outweigh computer web usage (via Mashable).

A lot of websites are taking this to mean that they should care about mobile websites, which I whole-heartedly agree with. What I don’t agree with is their method of doing so.

Most websites think that the best way to appeal to mobile web users is to create a separate look for their website, just for mobile users, such as the above skin that many WordPress based blogs sport.

However mobile devices these days come with large touch-screen displays, that have the ability to display full webpages. When I’m browsing, I want to see the whole website, not some cut down version. For example, look at all that I’m missing out on from ProBlogger.net.

ProBlogger.net

I would much prefer for this whole site to come up when I view it on my iPhone.

So I’ve disagreed with the current method of making a mobile “skin” for your website, a cut down version for mobile browsers. But what do I think the solution is?

Solution

Create the website from the ground up with mobile in mind.

I think that people need to stop thinking about creating a mobile friendly cover for their websites, they need to think about creating mobile friendly websites.

Mobile devices are very capable, and technologies (such as HTML5) exist that allow mobile friendly sites to have most of the features available to regular sites.

With mobile web expanding as it is, people should no longer think of mobile web as an addition, they should think of mobile as the web.

That’s just my 2 cents on mobile websites. For the time being any website that I create will be mobile friendly (to the best of my ability), and I’ll keep reading websites that I like even if they have a mobile skin that I have to turn off.

What do you think about mobile skins for websites, do you like them or dislike them?

Calum Henderson

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A Christian Primary school teacher. Married to Alice. I write about Christian ministry and technology, as well as anything that may interest me.

2 responses to Thoughts On Mobile Websites

  1. I hate those WordPress mobile skins. Ugly!

    I agree with browsing the full site

    The new method uk seeing more sites do is ‘responsive widths’

    http://fervr.net used to have a crappy mobile site.
    Now of u visit on desktop, tablet, smartphone. You’ll notice te same site, but responds according to the kidths of the browser.
    I think I like it.

  2. Yeah I’ve seen a few sites with responsive widths. I haven’t had enough experience with them to give a full opinion.

    Honestly I’m still happy viewing full websites on my iPhone but I’m sure I could be swayed if the design was good enough.

    Thanks again for weighing in!

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