My post last week on issues accessing The Washington Post from mobile phones sparked a lot of good conversation. For the most part, you folks are in favor of The Post auto-detecting when you’re on a mobile phone and serving you a mobile view of the content you want to see.
But it wasn’t all roses. Some of you worried that we’d wall you into a “child’s garden” of a mobile site with no hope of returning. The letter below caught my eye:
“I have major problems just getting your material on my desktop. It takes forever to load and to follow a link to an article, and crashes my Windows browser at least ten percent of the time. I feel really sorry for your mobile users if they’re now going to be exposed to all the ads (including the phony ‘use this one trick to...’ and ‘dermatologists are angry...’ items disguised as news tips) and the links to Facebook and whatever else is cluttering up your system.”
The author made some assumptions about what we would include in the new mobile pages we’re designing. And based on how little I tipped my hand last week, I’m not surprised. But this is not in our plan for a new mobile site. We want slimmer pages: ones that load quickly, no matter how bad your 3G connection is.
Our vision also includes links to related and relevant articles and photo galleries, as you see on the desktop site, but there likely will be fewer of these, because speed and data plan limits have to be our top priority. Ease of navigation is a key goal for us. We want to get you what you want quickly. Will we offer sharing? You bet. But we’ve got to do that in a way that makes it easy but unobtrusive.
After reading this letter, I believe now would be as good a time as any to throw this discussion back over to you. Our team of technologists, designers, businessfolk and editors are in the early stages of this mobile-makeover process. What would you like to see us do as we move forward? Fair warning: This is going to take a while. But in the interim, We’re all for ideas from the crowd.
Shout at us in the comments or at email@example.com.