Matt HealeySaturday,15 June 2013

The Snap:

I was reading The New York Times earlier today. I like the Times because I find their reporting to be credible and factually correct. However, their IT department has problems. I have written about my negative experiences with them before and now I have another problem: Stop forcing me to your mobile site when I have specifically asked for the desktop version.

The Download:

I don’t like Apple. Anyone who has read any of my tech posts knows that. The reason is two fold. The first is that I hate the cult following Apple has. I lump the Apple fans in with the worst of the evangelical fundamentalists. The other reason is that I hate the way Apple forces you to do things the way they want. The lack of ability to configure or modify your device so it fits you is severely limited because Apple relies on a closed system. Unfortunately I am seeing a similar trend in mobility with sites forcing me to their mobile site even though I have requested the full desktop site. The trend was pervasive enough that XKCD did a strip on it (see below). I have a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 specifically because it can handle most full websites. So let me get access to the full site.

Server Attention Span | xkcd

Image via: xkcd

The problem is that some engineers, developers, designers, etc. think that they are smarter than their users. If you have a mobile device, you must want the mobile site, they assume. Well, maybe, maybe not. If I bought a tablet with a larger screen, then maybe I want the full site. Give me the option. But since they are smarter than I am…wait, I am not sure they are. And the problem is only going to get worse. With the proliferation of tablets and increasingly powerful smartphones, it is possible that Android will become what Windows was in the PC era. I can easily see a time when I have Android on a laptop. In this scenario, the difference between a mobile device and a desktop device will become so blurred that the only way to ensure the user has a positive experience is to allow configuration. Let me decide if I want the mobile experience or the desktop experience. But that would require the developers to admit that they are not smarter than users, so I suspect it will be a long time coming.

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Image Credit: Flickr

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