some mobile websites are pissing me off

First let me say:

  1. I love technology.
  2. I love mobile technology.
  3. I love my smart phone.
  4. I MUST have the latest and greatest smart phone.
  5. I do most of my personal web browsing on some sort of mobile device.

The mobile web is here and everyone is getting in on it. Retailers and content providers are launching mobile enabled websites and mobile apps as fast as they can and some of them are pissing me off. Why? It is because of bad user interface and auto redirection. We web folks are getting way too smart for our britches. Below are just two examples of what is wrong with the way many are using the mobile web.

Scenario 1
I made an online purchase and received an email to track the package. I clicked the email on my phone. The website identified my device as a smart phone and directed me to the mobile web version of their site. They are so smart right? WRONG! The functionality to track the package wasn’t on the mobile site. There was no link to “Go to Full Website” so I got stuck in an endless loop. I’m pissed.

Scenario 2
I’m thinking of what to make for dinner. I get on my smart phone and Google a recipe I’d seen in a magazine. Google shows me exactly what I was looking for in the search results, so I click. I am auto redirected to the mobile versions homepage. Brilliant, eh? Nope, I never could get the content I wanted. I typed in the title of the recipe in the mobile search box and got no results.

I back out of the mobile site and click the next link, a newspaper I think. They also direct me to a mobile website homepage.

I end up going back to the original link, scrolling to the bottom, clicking “Full Version”, typing in the search terms AGAIN on their search. I’m pissed.

There Must Be a Better Way
I know that having a mobile site and app is the cool thing to do. I understand the mobile traffic is growing exponentially, so I know why these companies are launching the sites. I know it is difficult to build all the functionality and content that a full website has into a mobile site that is compatible with most devices. I know, I know, I know. I’m not asking for any of that. I am just asking for better thought when redirecting. Here’s a novel approach, try asking your visitors what they want to do. How smart would you seem if visitors got this message when browsing from a mobile device?

“We noticed you are browsing on a mobile device. Would you like to visit our mobile website or continue to our full site?”

Or how about something like this:

“The content you are requesting is not available on our mobile website; would you like to visit our full website?”

Get to the Point
I have a crazy fast smart phone with a huge screen and great browser. At home and at work I am connected over Wi-Fi and when I’m actually “mobile” I have either 3G or 4G speeds. I can view any content that is on the “full web” and THAT is what I want to do. Don’t force me to use your mobile website, especially if it doesn’t have all the functionality or content that I want.

OK. Deep breathe.

Vent over!

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