I’ve recently ran into an issue where the developers of the WordPress framework that I’m using believes that websites should have a mobile first design. In other words, the website should be formatted to fit the screen of your mobile device.
I disagree with this. At first, I thought I could understand the reasoning. The example given is that someone on a mobile device looking up a restaurant doesn’t want the fancy website experience they get on their desktop, but rather a stripped down version for easier viewing on a mobile device.
I understood this, until I realized that I don’t want this behavior forced on me. There are websites that follow this rule, but they give you the option to view the full site. Best Buy is one of those sites. While I may have my own opinions of Best Buy, I do like this concept.
The argument given is that more people are using smartphones. I could argue that because of that, the websites should display the full content. Smartphones can render websites just fine. The only thing they can’t render is Flash, and well, that’s another issue entirely.
Back in the days of the not-so-smart smartphones, I can see why you would want a stripped down site. I remember really appreciating those sites on my BlackBerry, but that was a long time ago. I recently went on a trip and flew Southwest. Southwest is another of those sites that give you the option. I opted for the full site, and I usually do when given the choice.
Maybe I’m giving people too much credit, but I believe most people know how to zoom in and out on their phone. I have been to websites developed by people who specialize in mobile-optimized design. I have always felt like something was missing. When I finally get to the site on my desktop, I realize it’s more than half the site that’s missing.
Recently, I tried to add Pandora to my DirecTV receiver. My receiver told me I had to go to Pandora’s site to enter a code. Ok. I pick up my iPad and go to the site. However, the people who designed Pandora’s website have decided I don’t need to go to the website, but rather to the App Store to download their app. No, this is not what I want to do. If I had wanted to do that, I would have went to the App store. I wanted to go to the website to register my DirecTV receiver. That’s not an option though, so I chose not to register my receiver and decided not to listen to Pandora. They thought they knew what was best for me. They didn’t.
I realize I’m usually in the minority when it comes to what I want versus what the rest of the world wants.
So, what do you want? Do you want the full experience when going to a website, or one with less features designed to be more readable on your mobile device?