The iPhone has been a catalyst for a number of mobile versions of popular sites, including many I use most days:
(*) if you haven’t discovered m.nzherald.co.nz I recommend you check it out – I’ve completely abandoned Stuff since they launched this.
I’m interested to see how these mobile versions have been designed.
They don’t try and cram in too many features. They use super large fonts and large buttons, and as a result there is not a lot of room on each page for too much noise. The things you can click (or do we say “touch” now?) are immediately obvious.
They are not bogged down by lots of unnecessary images or scripts … so they are FAST!
Here is a quick comparison of the corresponding login/home pages:
I realise that this is completely unscientific. For example, I used an empty cache in each case. No doubt many of these sites are faster the second time you visit because of caching. I also tested only one load of each page, and there are any number of things which could have caused the speed to vary. And it’s a somewhat random sample of sites to choose. But, I hope it is a rough drawing of the point I’m trying to make nonetheless – that is, the mobile versions are much smaller and as a result much faster to load.
I wonder how much of this thinking will filter back into the main standard browser versions of these sites?
Hopefully designers and developers will start to see the benefits of some of these things (less design, bigger fonts, etc) into ALL of the sites they work on, whether intended for mobile users or not.
At the extreme of this trend is a site like Muxtape which only has a mobile version of their site. If you visit using a normal browser, you get the mobile version – a simple, fast-loading page with big obvious design elements. In other words, you get a great usable webpage.
Which makes me wonder … if I’m just wanting to see the latest headlines, check my balances or lookup a travel booking, why wouldn’t I load the mobile version of these sites in my standard browser, rather than waiting around for the full versions?