Our move

Written by Verne on January 16th, 2008

BlackBerry 8320I just picked up my new used BlackBerry 8320 Curve yesterday – my first handheld complete with WiFi functionality. Naturally I spent most of the afternoon and evening toying around with it, and in the few hours that I was able to experience the supposed greatness of the mobile browser it occured to me how far behind the mobile surfing experience is from the one we’re used to on a computer.

Granted, the 8320 is not the iPhone (I’m sure there are many of you who will be ready to pounce on that tidbit). But recognize also that the majority of the mobile users are not iPhone users either (not sure how this demographic will change in the next few years though). Plus, while the iPhone’s Safari browser is a few leaps ahead of the rest of the market, it’s still far from delivering a flawless surfing experience.

It’s certainly a give and take situation – web designers need to make their sites more mobile-ready while mobile software developers need to up the firing power behind the mobile browsers. But somebody should be the bigger man, and in my eyes, I think it’s the web designers’ move next.

What happened to the .mobi movement? If web designers start building sites that are more compatible for mobile browsing, the customers and end-users will have more incentive to demand better technology on their handsets. Users don’t buy fancy handsets to see crappy websites.

On a lighter note, my 8320 is probably the one single environment where Windows Live trumps Google. That made me smile… and then cry.

3 Responses

  • Chris Coyier

    I think if I had to put the responsibility on either the web designer or the device, I pick the device. I think there are just too many different devices out there, all with different screen sizes, capabilities, and quirks that a web designer can’t possibly be responsible for dealing with each one.

    This is what standards are for. Ideally, if a designer designs to established standards, the device should be able to take that content and display it well.

  • Verne

    Those are great points, Chris, and that’s why I really think that both parties need to meet at some midway point. There’s much to be done on both ends.

    I definitely agree that devices come in so many shapes and sizes these days that the software developers for these devices really need to come together and agree on some sort of standard in mobile browsing.

    On the other hand, probably at least 80% of the websites today aren’t following already-established standards that would in reality already do wonders for mobile accessibility.

    Will standardized mobile browsers push non-standard-complying websites to clean up their code? Or will standardized websites encourage greater developments in the mobile browsing space? Did the chicken or the egg come first?

    Hard to say, but this web designer wants to stop waiting around and just take the first step forward. Hopefully others will join. :)

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