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back to article Google to punish sloppy mobile webmasters

The Chocolaterie has decided, probably correctly, that users are sick of Webmasters that can't talk and chew gum at the same time. It's therefore issued an edict: if you're trying to run a Web-and-mobile site, do it right or get de-ranked in search. It's not put quite so bluntly, but that seems to be the implication in Mountain …

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Gold badge

Great!

Now can they come down like a ton of bricks on those who persist in ignoring "request desktop site" and continue pushing the crappy mobile version? Also dropping every page from the search results that disables zoom, regardless of its content, would be nice.

Then again, if this goes some way towards de-crapifying mobile sites, the first of those might become less of an issue.

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Devil

Re: Great!

To be honest the best thing would be to just ditch mobile sites altogether.

Usually the full version works perfectly fine (even on my mum's ancient Nokia symbian phone), except for some sites where it is impossible to view the full site unless you hack your user-agent string, because otherwise you keep getting redirected to the borked mobile site.

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Silver badge

Re: Great!

The desktop sites do work, but the touch optimised one are usually better. What I hate is when you try to zoom a page on mobile (too see a pic better, or find a button) and some Z-layer banner shite insists on always being at the top and visible so when you zoom, it takes over the entire page and you can't see anything.

I also hate when internal links don't detect that you are on mobile and you get dropped back to the desktop site (reddit, I'm looking at you. Get your shit together).

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Linux

Re: Great!

If they insist on making a touch optimised version, then they should make it ONLY for multitouch phones. My n900 works much better on desktop sites with its old-style resistive touchscreen (the touch resolution actually comes somewhere near the screen resolution, unlike with Jesus Phones etc)

Or better yet, just implement the "mobile-optimised" bit in jQuery or the like, so we can turn it off. Saves the cost of parallel maintenance of two sites, and avoids the problem of "special versions" being forgotten about too.

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Anonymous Coward

Crappy cafe / airport Wi-Fi? .... Mobile sites can be your friend...

I travel for work and so have the pleasure of crappy cafe and airport 'quality' Wi-Fi where pages from Facebook to the BBC never finish loading. Mobile sites are simpler when implemented well and can save you from all the eyeball-information-overload of the regular desktop versions. For instance, look at how bloated and overloaded these desktop sites are: Yahoo.com, IMDB.com, BBC.com or RTE.ie.... The reason I like mobile overall is that when its done well, It cuts to the heart of the content and gets away from all the 3rd party bloat that's added to make money. It is of course a PITA when you're dropped in or out of the mobile site back to the desktop due to a broken link...

In general I like sites that can run fine without JavaScript / Ajax / Java / Flash. I run Firefox with all add-ons, scripts and images initially blocked. Then I only turn back on what I need. There are so many ads designed to rob your eyeballs and so little time in the day that I find its a faster way to work. Also speaking security wise, for far too long we have permitted blending of code and content, and this just leaves so many many attack vectors open...

In summary, Mobile runs faster than the equivalent bloated desktop version. In addition desktop on a mobile can lead to endless scrolling because of page size. Overall, there's less Ads on mobile because they can't fit them. Finally, if you're roaming overseas or not on an unlimited data plan domestically, the last thing you want is a legion of ads being loaded up....

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Bronze badge

Re: Great!

"Now can they come down like a ton of bricks on those who persist in ignoring "request desktop site" and continue pushing the crappy mobile version?"

Not sure you quite understand how websites work...

They don't have a "ignore desktop site setting" this is the mobile browser who pretends to be a desktop PC rather than a smartphone.

The sites that "ignore" the setting are actually using responsive design (which Google - and the 'industry' - are saying is the correct way of doing these sites). The content is always the same it is just relaid out and parts hidden using CSS based on the size of your browser window.

You can see this in action by making your browser windows smaller on some sites and seeing how the page re-renders in realtime according to the window size (usually optimised for Large screen, Tablet and Smartphone).

Therefore there is no separate mobile version of the site (e.g. m.mysite.com V www.mysite.com) there is just a media query to re-render the page.

A good site should provide the best possible experience for each device without losing any essential information.

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Anonymous Coward

Butt hurt android?

I can only assume this is the company abusing its search market position to try and force people to support it's fragmented android market. I've not run into problems on my iPhone. It just works.

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Silver badge

Re: Butt hurt android?

This problem has existed for a while now, even on my own iPhone: http://xkcd.com/869/

It has been getting better as webmaster have learned, but there is no excuse not to do it right anymore.

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Bronze badge
FAIL

Re: Butt hurt android?

Statistically a sample of one is not a representative or useful set. So just because you have ONLY visited sites that play well with your toy does not mean that everyone else has the same 'wonderful experience' with their toys. If you read the article it explains some of the sloppy failure modes that some web masters allow or encourage. It is not aimed at itoys, BB toys, Android toys or any other devices but at sloppy web sites, or do you simply resent the idea that standards ought to exist and be supported properly?

Oh, and don't accuse me of being a fan boy of any of those devices. None of them support the one 'feature' I need and use. Hands free operation without needing to touch, smile at, fondle or look at the device in question. Mine is the one that remains discretely hidden at all times. Not that the light fingered would want an 8 year old phone anyway, I have more to do than stare at a mobile phone..

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Silver badge

Re: Butt hurt android?

Flash works on your iPhone?

News to me, and the rest of the world. No, streaming shit from someone else's servers doesn't count, unless you want me to bring OnLive out.

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Anonymous Coward

Was that suggestions link intended as a joke ?

Here's the full list of configuration errors Google is warning against, along with its full list of suggestions to avoid them. ®

Was that suggestions link intended as a joke ?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Was that suggestions link intended as a joke ?

Possibly.

In case you didn't work it out, you just need to remove the "%20recommendations" from the end of the URL

I suspect the author initially labelled the link as recommendations, then screwed up the edit; probably not an intentional joke though.

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If only they would remove the "feature" that disables videos to be viewed on mobile devices on youtube first.

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Silver badge

Sfx might get a light spanking. I'd say half of their links from twitter to their website don't (at least with my BB OS7.1 browser).

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Good, I hope telegraph.co.uk are listening to the mobile site thing.

Also, I find it annoying sites that support both flash and HTML5 for embedded video, but insist on pushing their flash version on devices which support both (Google Youtube, I'm talking to you -- clean up your code for embedding videos!)

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Silver badge

"Also, I find it annoying sites that support both flash and HTML5 for embedded video, but insist on pushing their flash version on devices which support both (Google Youtube, I'm talking to you -- clean up your code for embedding videos!)"

Youtube HTML5 is still in 'trial' mode, and you need to opt in:

http://www.youtube.com/html5

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Anonymous Coward

Does it also list any site with Google ads? I'm fed up with having to wait for a site until the &%ç ads have loaded, which is why I now ban them.

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Stop

I don't want your f&$king app

Can they please do something about all those sites that hit me with a drive by pop up asking if I want to download their app. I don't want a bloody app for each website ...

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Anonymous Coward

Here's a variation on a theme

1. Click link to interesting article.

2. Pop up: "We notice that you are in Australia. Would you prefer to view our Australian web site?"

3. Foolishly click yes

4. Taken to home page of Australian subsidiary. No sign of article.

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Why do mobile viewers want different content?

The Guardian, Telegraph and Independent newspaper sites particularly annoy me because they don't show comments on the mobile view. Why do they want comments from people who are sitting at desks, but not from those on trains?

At least the Telegraph has a link to see the "full site" that works properly, and the Independent honours the user agent. The Guardian is a pain in the neck because it has different URLs for desktop and mobile, and seems determined to redirect me to the one I don't want.

Part of the problem is that some organisations don't want you to use the browser at all on your mobile, but are pushing annoying and intrusive apps that do stuff in the background all the time. They don't want the mobile browser experience to be too good.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why do mobile viewers want different content?

The Guardian, Telegraph and Independent newspaper sites particularly annoy me because they don't show comments on the mobile view.

No inane user comments? I might have to start using their mobile sites on the desktop then.

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John Lewis were a culprit of this.

As title

I'm glad that it isn't just me that gets infuriated by clicking on a link only to be unceremoniously dumped onto the restricted content mobile site, forced to "your country" home page (AFAIAC, that should only occur on the homepage itself - never deeper into the site)

Or just as bad, being taken to an excellent mobile site only to find as soon as you click on any further link you get dumped on an (touch) unusable desktop site.... Grrrrr

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FAIL

O/S isn't the issue!

If I had a browser capable phone with a tiny screen, I might want to view a mobile site. I don't though, I have a 7" tablet with Android that I only ever use on a wifi connection. I neither need nor want mobile sites!

At least give us a choice of which site to view?

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Thumb Down

Crappy experience

Yup, most mobile sites are crap. Unmitigated disasters that should end in those responsible being added to the unemployment roll. I have yet to find one single website where I prefer the mobile version to the desktop version. I use a Galaxy S2 and a Galaxy Note 10.1 and they both have problems with mobile site layouts, zooming, and functionality. Even the BBC desktop website works better than the Mobile version and they are probably the closest to a decent mobile site IMHO. Personally I would like Samsung to add the ability to permanently identify itself as a Linux Desktop machine. I don't want to have to hit "request desktop version" every time (and it is EVERY time) I get issued a mobile website. And as other have stated, when I get a "Would you like to download our app" I almost invariably close the site and go somewhere else. If I'd wanted your app I would have searched for it and installed it. In general then, give us the option to get the desktop experience only and stop touting your shite apps.

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Silver badge

Silly idea

Can't various sites forget the "mobile" and "desktop" distinction and have a "low bandwidth" option instead?

It might actually be useful. Half a meg or more of "rich media" shit just to view 2kb of text? Yes please.. not.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Silly idea

2nd that. Especially for those not on those unlimited data plans.... Stop auto-detecting and give us the damn choice!

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Anonymous Coward

www.website.com/contactus -> '404: Page not found'

On the broader theme of standardising mobile and desktop websites to be all they can be.... I'd like to see consistencies between websites especially for mega-corps... For example, always putting a 'Contact-Us' link in the same place of a top level URL as in the example in the title. Its not a big thing. The redirect wouldn't take long to implement and it definitely saves time when you have to navigate thousands of sites in a lifetime.... At the very least why can't all sites add this :-

www.website.com/sitemap

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