Matthew Roach

The mobile experience

Something that has got me thinking the passed few months has been the whole debate with regards to \”the mobile experience\”. It was not until a little while ago that I hit a slight brick wall while discussing it with a designer.

It started with me showing off how I could make a site responsive with only a few lines of code (bear in mind the site had been designed at 960 wide and never had an intentions to be responsive), making the site accessible for everyone on all screen sizes. The main point that I was putting across was that the user(s) who access the site will all have a tailored solution for them, meaning they would all experience the same content, but rather than struggling with viewing or accessing it, it would be displayed on their screen in the most appropriate way.

From my little demonstration it did not prove to be the hit I thought it might be, greeted with a bit of confrontation with how the site was adapting depending on the screen size, I stated that this was just some basic styling to demonstrate how responsive/ fluid site could work, and with some extra time all the break points could be identified and the site could work from a mobile device up to a desktop computer. I also mentioned that if this approach was to be taken then designing for Mobile first then building upon this would have be the better option, but due to the nature of this particular site it was not so crucial.

So with the slight confrontation I decided I would like to know more about this person thoughts on the matter. So, I started to ask questions with regards to what was wrong with this approach. Questions and awsers where fired back and forth, it seemed we where not actually getting anywhere, the designer had his own opinions with regards to the matter and could not see beyond this. The reasoning behind the designer not being able to see past his thoughts was he kept saying all site’s should have a mobile version for people accessing it on an mobile phone, saying that you don’t get the same experience. By a mobile version he was stating a completely different site designed specific for mobile devices.

I could sort of see his thinking here, but only for certain types of site’s, on why he would think this. Yes, some sites could do with a mobile specific site but for the vast majority of site’s that are around and with the amount of different devices, mobile specific is not the best option as these site’s would not have the budget to have specific sites created to target specific devices. But why when you can employ responsive design?

My question in response was; What are people coming to this website for? The content that is on it! So why would a specific mobile site be need when the content that they are wanting is here, and with some simple rules and a slight change of the design the whole site could be accessed through all mediums and all users are able to see what they need. All users would have a tailored experience and design depending on how they are accessing the site.

I know this subject has been discussed a lot from all angles and situations. I would like to know others thoughts on this. I don’t think this is going away anytime soon and people will always have an opinion for and against each aspect but it’s how we tackle the situation at hand.