Baseline Mobile Experience

Accessing the Web from a mobile phone is not a new idea. Data
transmission standards were defined in the early days of GSM – over a
decade ago. The first round of mobile browser wars was fought long
before devices had color displays. Transcoding solutions were deployed
by browsers, carriers and even search engines like Google. In those
days, getting readable Web content on a phone was a victory no matter
how it looked – the baseline mobile experience was a blank page that
never finished loading.

Enter the iPhone/Android/Palm Pre era. Most websites still really suck
on mobile – research proves it – but one thing has changed
drastically. The baseline mobile experience is surfing the desktop
website using the pan & zoom approach. Now, any mobile publishing
service has to provide an experience superior to accessing the full site
on an iPhone-like device.

The overall impression visitors get is defined by look & feel, content
accessibility, navigation and load times – items familiar to any mobile
UI expert. However, not delivering on any one of them can provoke an
“opt-out” by the mobile user, falling back to the cumbersome yet
familiar full site experience.

Mobify measures opt-out rates for mobile views it powers. There is a
strong correlation between the amount of thought a web designer puts
into the mobile version and the size of their mobile audience. It’s
incredibly pleasing to see the quality of the mobile views go up
consistently. The future of mobile web gets brighter every time a web
designer decides to take charge and improve experience for their
visitors.

Screenshots: old baseline (Google Transcoder), new baseline (full site
in Mobile Safari), current mobile design (m.spin.com by Mobify)

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