Mobile sites… what’s the point?

Let’s see how long it takes me to fall in to my own trap! Okay, so this week I have been working on a few sites designed for mobile devices when it finally hit me in the face, much my desk seconds later, what was the point! I understand if you have a site, you should be able to view it on any device possible but there so many limitations when it comes to mobile devices it seems hardly worth using the device to surf the web. But if you think about it, what sites need to have mobile versions? What is so important on your site that people MUST be able to view it when they are out and about? News and information I understand, so that’s news websites and Wikipedia that should have mobile versions. What else? Social media? Twitter and Facebook, CHECK! Anything else? Blogs, okay fair enough but what about personal site and portfolios? Not really. Game sites don’t work, which I will go into later.

Other then content, let’s have a rundown of some of the limitations. Resolution aka screen size is a huge problem. If you’re using an iPhone (which it’s a pretty good chance at the moment) your screen is 320pixels wide. That is not very big, what size font can you read on that! Also, this is not the smallest resolution you have to be content with. So you can make your site fit any size using percentage changes but it sure does crap your style with fonts and buttons. Now let’s talk about images. Not all mobile devices support the web standards when it comes image formats. Almost all of them support gif and jpeg’s but only a few supports PNG. Why is this? Almost every site has switched to PNG formats to increase quality without blowing the file size.

Ah there’s the next kick in the teeth when it comes to mobile site, file sizes. How much bandwidth does your site in fact cost to view it? ALL the networks limit the amount of data you can use when surfing the net on your device. This is why mobile sites came to be in the first place, people were blowing their monthly bandwidth in a matter of hours due to the fact websites have been getting bigger! More code to make those smooth transactions from pages, pop-ups to flag you of messages, images, video, sound… they all add up and mobile networks “Can’t” handle the loads. So they limit you. What is the expect size for a mobile site, listed by the W3 web standards site? 22kb!! 22KBs to build a whole site! Let’s take that in to consideration, the logo at the top of my site is 8kbs! That means that I could have three logos on the site and I’ve killed my allowance.

Speaking of standards… there are none! Every device can use its own standards. Hell, every browser on every device can have different standards. And then we get to the biggest problem when it comes to web video and that is; do you have Flash?! Yes, I know allot of sites have switched to HTML5 for their video needs but not everyone. And it’s typical that the ones we’d like to use haven’t or wont, for whatever reason they give. And this is why you won’t see videos on my mobile site as flash may or may not be supported!

So what’s my point in this long winded rant? Yes I have created mobile sites but this should not be seen as me supporting them. I just can’t understand why anyone would want to use them! If you want to visit a website, wait till you get home and use your PC! Or if you really must, find some open wifi and pull out a netbook or laptop! Or even an iPad… what? SHOCKED that I’d support iPads? Ha haven’t you realised I’m evil yet!

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