Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Do you ever come here on your phone? [UPDATED 2x]

UPDATE: Mobile template is now on. UPDATE2: Now back off.

Blogger has rolled out a new feature that they claim will make viewing this blog on your phone better:

UPDATE: Mobile template is now on. UPDATE2: Now back off.

Screenshot of Blogger Dashboard with pop-up showing offer to turn on mobile template


This, they say, is what the homepage would look like as of this moment, if I turn on the mobile template, and you visit on (with?) a phone or something else that's detected as a mobile device:

Screenshot of this blog's home page, as it would be seen on a mobile phone

(Try here, also.)

And this is what you'd see by clicking that first >.

Screenshot of a single post on this blog, as it would be seen on a mobile phone

(Try here, also.)

I don't like the way the links in the post body are hard to see, but maybe they'd stand out better on an actual phone, as opposed to those preview windows. (Or maybe I'd need to muck around with the CSS a bit, assuming I get access to the template after turning it on.)

Anyway, should I turn on the mobile template option, or do you prefer things the way they are now? (It's not binding -- I can flip the switch on or off at will, if you just want to experiment.)

Please drop a note in the Comments, send me an email, or @ me. Thanks.




P.S. Minor note, just in case you were wondering: You won't see that small ABP stop sign, unless you, too, have the Ad-Blocker Plus extension installed.

30 comments:

Jack said...

Personally I dislike layouts "optimized" for mobile devices (of which the example you show in your post is a typical example), because they force you to click many, many more times to see the same content. This design forces you to click-wait-load once for every single post -- and then you have to click-wait-load to get back to the point you started from. I'd *much* rather load the whole long scrolling page at once, and then read for a few minutes before having to click something else.

I may not be a representative user, though, because I have an Apple iPhone 4, with a vast viewing area of 960-by-640 pixels. If I was viewing your site on a significantly smaller screen, I might prefer a different layout.

If you're interested, here's a screenshot of how your site loads on my phone by default. And, if I find the text too small to read, the iPhone has a nice feature: I can double-tap on any column and the column will expand to fill the screen's width. This makes it easier to read columns in multi-column layouts. Here's an example.

Ocean said...

Go charge your iPhone, Jack. ;)

Ocean said...

I just looked here with my phone and I see the usual screen, not the mobile one.

Jack said...

LOL! I shouldn't have that % charged showing; it makes me constantly obsess over how much battery power I have remaining! ;-) (Not really.)

Jack said...

But I do love that USS Enterprise pizza cutter. Totally awesome. I should get that for my dad for Father's Day.

Brendan said...

@Jack: Thanks for the detailed response, screenshots, etc. Unless I hear a strong dissent from someone else, say, with a less-nice screen than yours, I guess I'll leave the mobile template version shut off.

@Ocean: Yes, you should not be seeing the mobile template version of the blog when you visit on your phone. I decided not to turn it on until I got some feedback from people who have in the past visited by (on? with?) phone.

If you're curious, you can add

?m=1

to the end of any URL on this blog to see what the mobile-supposedly-optimized version would look like. For example, compare this:

http://bjkeefe.blogspot.com/2011/04/revenge-protest-sign-of-nerds.html

to this:

http://bjkeefe.blogspot.com/2011/04/revenge-protest-sign-of-nerds.html?m=1

Or, if you're really curious and that seems too tedious, I guess I could turn it the mobile template on for a short while (while Jack is asleep? ;)).

I get the impression you don't much care either way, though, and that you usually visit using a regular computer. (Correct me if I'm wrong, of course.) But thanks for doing a test drive on your phone.

Jack said...

So, speaking of phones, it just occurred to me: Clay recently hard coded the Go12 blog template at something like 920 pixels. I think the only phone on the market with that many pixels of available width is the iPhone. The Droids max out around 865 or something. Which means that Droid users won't be able to fit the whole site onto the screen -- unless the Droid has some mechanism for shrinking the screen to make it fit. (Probably does.)

We should probably change that layout to use percentages instead of pixels so it scales appropriately for whatever device or screen you're viewing it on.

(Babble babble babble.)

Brendan said...

Go for it. I'm not a big-can of hard-coded numbers, particularly when it comes to web page layouts, either.

(Probably should do something about the ones on this blog myself.)

Jack said...

Well, yeah, in general I agree. But I like some fixed width layouts -- as long as they fit the screens they're viewed on. And I've always thought the template you're using is one of the nicer Blogger templates.

Ocean said...

About experimenting with the mobile mode, I sometimes look at your blog from my phone. It takes a while to load the whole page, so sometimes when I have little time or I'm impatient I just don't do it. When I'm home I use my computer and that's not a problem.


Go12 I have no problems viewing. If I want to see the entire width I can make it tiny to fit my screen (and still read it), or I can make it larger and scroll. It doesn't matter.

Brendan said...

@Ocean: So, what do you think of viewing pages with the mobile template in place? (These are the ones with the ?m=1 at the end of the URL.)

Ocean said...

I just tried by clicking on your link here in the comments. There isn't much of a difference. I have a problem with both modes which is that I can't comment because my phone isn't reading (seeing?) the word verification. So I can write the comment, enter my name at the bottom and publish, but nothing happens.

:(

Brendan said...

Okay, I just turned the mobile template on. See if your phone likes that any better.

Jack said...

It looks like there's a link to the web version at the bottom of the mobile version, so if you do decide to switch over to the mobile version, I can always click that link when I visit on my phone. If it'd be more accessible for Ocean or others in the mobile form, please feel free to switch it.

Also, it might be possible to bookmark the web version so I'd never actually have to use the mobile version. That's what I do for any sites that permit it. For example, memeorandum allows bookmarking of the non-mobile version. Talking Points Memo used to force you to view the mobile version, but I just checked to see if this has changed, and sure enough they now have a link to the non-mobile version. Progress!

Jack said...

Didn't see your 8:24 comment until after I posted my 8:57. But I have confirmed I can bookmark your non-mobile version, so it doesn't matter to me which you set as the default.

Brendan said...

Okay, thanks. I guess I'll leave it on for a little while. (= Until someone complains, probably. ;))

Ocean said...

Sorry, I was distracted by a conversation with a 21 year old college student that dropped by to visit. ;)

I looked at the mobile mode. As I said, it's fine for me, but the main problem with either one is that I don't have the possibility of writing comments. My phone has an older version of Android which doesn't have all the niceties of the newer ones.

Maybe I'll get around to changing my phone, but I've become attached to it...

Substance McGravitas said...

Me? No cell phone at all.

Brendan said...

@Ocean: Okay, thanks for letting me know. I guess I'll throw the switch back to off, since Jack's argument makes sense to me.

@Sub: Same here, which is why I have to bleg.

Jack said...

To just add something to my previous point that the "optimized" design forced you to click many more times to read the same amount of content.

In fact, it even makes you click when there's nothing to read. Atrios, for example, famously puts up a lot of really short posts. I see he has switched to the new mobile layout. And yet, 50% of his posts are visible on the first page -- you don't have to actually click the little arrow thing off to the right to see the whole post.

The problem is that you don't know you've read the whole post until you click that arrow. So, you click, you wait, it loads, and then you see nothing new, and have to click back, and wait, and it loads, and then you can repeat the whole ordeal with the next post, and the one after that ...

We might as well hit users over the head with a nerf bat.

Incidentally, TBogg's horrible, horrible blog design works the exact same way in the regular browser. No need to use a mobile device to experience the agony! (And I say this as a huge fan of Tbogg.)

Brendan said...

I know what you mean about being tricked into clicking a permalink from the main page, only to find out there's nothing more there. Really irritating. Gawker can be like that, even in a regular browser, especially if you're looking at an author page (e.g.).

I'd also think that if I were going to put anything in the mobile template, I definitely would have the Older Post | Newer Post | Main links at the bottom of individual pages, to save constant trips back to the blog home page.

What do think is horrible about TBlog? That when you're on the main page, you can't read the whole post, past the newest one or two, anyway? If so, I'll point out that at least he has those nav links mentioned above. When I'm not jumping directly to his individual post pages from my feed reader, that's how I read him -- go to the oldest unread one and work my way forward using the links at the top of the posts.

What else don't you like about his design?

Brendan said...

BTW, Jack, you can add your voice regarding the mobile template design here.

Jack said...

I'd also think that if I were going to put anything in the mobile template, I definitely would have the Older Post | Newer Post | Main links at the bottom of individual pages, to save constant trips back to the blog home page.

Yes, that would help a lot. I really have a personal preference for the style you've always used, which is probably the most common -- one long page full of complete posts. The show/hide thing isn't completely terrible if it's implemented like it is on Andrew Sullivan's blog: when you click "show more" it expands inline, without taking you to a different page. But when the "more" link takes you off to another page, that's irritating.

What do think is horrible about TBlog? That when you're on the main page, you can't read the whole post, past the newest one or two, anyway?
Yes, just that. Nothing else about his blog bothers me. It just goes to show, as you said above, you don't need the mobile layout to annoy the reader with the unfulfilled promise of "more."

If so, I'll point out that at least he has those nav links mentioned above.

Oh, good point. Except he doesn't post enough for that to matter. I check him pretty much at least once a day, and he posts less than that. If he posted several times a day it would be more useful.

When I'm not jumping directly to his individual post pages from my feed reader, that's how I read him -- go to the oldest unread one and work my way forward using the links at the top of the posts.

Makes sense. I guess I'm kind of compulsive and don't wait long enough for posts to accumulate like that. I only have about 25 blogs in my bookmarks, and probably only reliably check about 15 of those, so it doesn't take me long to make at least a daily stop at each one. How many blogs do you follow? Since you use a feed reader, it's probably easier to keep up with more blogs. I really should get into the habit of using one of those...

Brendan said...

I have hundreds in my feed reader, sorted into about a dozen categories. (Obviously I don't read every last post from all of them.)

TBogg is in my "faves0" category, which is the one that gathers up the blogs I usually read daily, and first, but sometimes I get so sick of politics that even jokes about politics are of no appeal, so there are times when a week or two will go by when I don't visit that category or any blog in it.

Jack said...

BTW, Jack, you can add your voice regarding the mobile template design here.

Oh, cool, thanks.

Velázquez said...

What ever happened to this blog?

Brendan said...

Author temporarily at a loss for words.

TC said...

It doesn't really matter a whole lot what it looks like on a cell phone if you don't post anything on it. Hope you're OK and just choosing not to post rather than something more dire.

Brendan said...

Yes, it is rather unfortunate how that last post immediately preceded the onset of a dry spell, isn't it?

But yes, I'm okay, and thanks for asking. Just have nothing to say lately.

FTD said...

Hope that ends real soon.

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