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Ask Slashdot: Why Do Mobile Versions of Websites Suck? 382

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the second-system dept.
First time accepted submitter Kelbear writes "As user traffic over mobile devices grows in leaps and bounds, it's surprising to me as a layman that so many companies still have crippled and broken mobile pages in late 2013. There must be justifiable reasons for this, so: Fellow Slashdotters, can you please share the obstacles you've seen in your own companies that have delayed or defeated efforts to develop competent mobile sites? Are the issues in obtaining or maintaining compatibility driven by platform owners like Apple and Google?"
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Ask Slashdot: Why Do Mobile Versions of Websites Suck?

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  • by dugancent (2616577) on Monday December 23, 2013 @09:16PM (#45771385)

    The mobile version of Slashdot sucks hard.

  • by C18H27NO3 (1282172) on Monday December 23, 2013 @09:29PM (#45771493)
    I just brought Slashdot up on my phone (Sprint Galaxy S3) and it popped right up without any issues. No performance or formatting problems that I could see in either Chrome or Firefox. /shrug
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 23, 2013 @09:39PM (#45771579)

    Just do a multi-column layout with a content column that is narrow enough to be comfortably read on a smartphone. That's it. On a smartphone you can then just zoom into the content and read it and if you want to look at all the side stuff, shift over. On larger screens you get all the content in a readable width (instead of lines 150 characters long) and with all the side stuff in view. Best of both worlds.

    What totally, utterly sucks is the "responsive design" sites that load a MB of CSS and Javascript frameworks and libraries to adapt the layout to smaller screens and force you to download that one MB of stuff just to view 25 KB of content. Show me a site using responsive design that is actually responsive (as in loading quickly). My personal test is this: I stop breathing when I tap on a link and if I feel uncomfortable when the page finally is there it's no good. I use this test since 1994 and it still works!

  • Re:case in point (Score:5, Informative)

    by sumdumass (711423) on Monday December 23, 2013 @10:00PM (#45771731) Journal

    Install a separate browser then change the user agent settings to represent a desktop.

    I do this on my phone and it solves the problem of crappy sites but I still have a browser I can go back to for those sites I need the mobile version for.

  • Re:case in point (Score:5, Informative)

    by yincrash (854885) on Monday December 23, 2013 @10:21PM (#45771881)
    Force 'classic' mode []
  • Re:case in point (Score:5, Informative)

    by Proudrooster (580120) on Monday December 23, 2013 @10:26PM (#45771913) Homepage

    BUMP! I second this, Mod this up. Mobile slashdot is wretched and SLOOOOOOWWWW!!!

  • by gl4ss (559668) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @12:11AM (#45772571) Homepage Journal

    yeah if you see the gear...

    on my mobile(opera on symbian) at least the mobile site threading is horribly, horribly broken. if a comment thread is 5 levels deep then there's 3 letters per line in a comment. woohoo! and that really doesn't seem like a coding fudge either, since if the design is like that, there's no other way it could be.. there's no space on the screen and spec says no sideways scrolling.

    but more to the point.. mobile websites tend to suck because THEYRE FUCKING MORE COMPLEX AND HEAVIER THAN THE DESKTOP BROWSER VERSION!. this is true for the slashdot "mobile" version as well - I need a top banner coming down delayed and blocking my text reading like I need a hole in the head. that's because more development time goes to them - but shouldn't that make them better?? sure, if the designers didn't have their heads up their butts with their apps. also because designers never ever ever understand the slight differences between apple, android and windows phone mobile browsers the actual developers end up having to kludge things. sometimes they don't even understand different screen sizes, who the fuck wants modal input dialogs with decorations on small screens?? you're really being serious that you want 8px(PIXELS!!) font sizing on retina dpi display?? yeah, so the guy who needs to make it actually work has to take the compromises.

    do not hire photoshop designers. they will never think the site through to the end, all they care is that they can do 3 pretty pictures of 3 situations where their "vision" for the site works, but you're stuck with having to make that work for the other 20 situations where the content doesn't fit to their idea and then in the end after going back and forth the answer for whoever is managing the project ends up being dropping those feats and making the site useless. like in the case of slashdot the way to "fix" the 3 letters per line comments would be to just limit the whole site into having threads only 3 levels deep. a shit solution, that users will hate? you bet!

    then there's sites like which have decent mobile sites but recently removed mobile link from the top of the main page.. .... because they think their fucking autodetect works. it fucking doesn't!

    I recently did a website that's mobile friendly, it actually works pretty ok but it could work on even more, if it wasn't that the design is flexible, in other words same site, same js, no matter what device... it still works ok, but could be better.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday December 24, 2013 @06:10AM (#45774003) Journal

    It depends on the reason. If it can't take HTML/CSS/JavaScript and display it correctly, then it's simply a buggy device. If, however, it has a very small screen then there's a good reason for asking for a custom version. Browsing the web from my tablet, I typically want the same UI as on a desktop. The screen is big enough and it's fine. On my phone, I really hate the 3-column layout that lots of sites love because it's a pain to zoom just enough to see the middle one (where the content goes) and to scroll keeping it inline.

    And some things, like mouse-over pop-up menus are just a bad idea on any device. At best they're lacking in discoverability, at worst they're impossible to use.

"Silent gratitude isn't very much use to anyone." -- G. B. Stearn