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stephen_g 526 days ago | link | parent

Often I feel like it would be better if sites couldn't even tell the difference at all between my phone and tablet and a normal browser... Some mobile sites are great, but only a very small minority. Most times I get redirected to a mobile site, I switch to the desktop version and find it's a far better browsing experience and they shouldn't have bothered in the first place...

An example of this is almost any blog with the WPTouch plugin... Most regular Wordpress theme gives you a better reading experience going to the desktop site and double tapping the main column to make it fill the screen!



monochromatic 526 days ago | link

I just love it when I click on some deep link into a site, and it redirects me to the HOME PAGE of the mobile site, with no way to get to the page I was actually interested in.

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dmd 526 days ago | link

http://xkcd.com/869/

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jordanthoms 526 days ago | link

Yeah, or the sites that say "this content is not available on our mobile site" - so show me the desktop version rather than the homepage!

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allbombs 526 days ago | link

or better yet.. when people submit links on social networks that contain the m.subdomain and you try to click on the link via desktop AND it's impossible to read b/c it's formatted for a mobile device.

people should use mobify

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re_todd 526 days ago | link

A List Apart had a good article today on this subject: http://www.alistapart.com/articles/your-content-now-mobile/

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dmethvin 526 days ago | link

Although the title talks about detecting the iPad Mini, the article makes it clear that the real dilemma is that there is no way to know the physical size of pixels as presented on the screen and size things accordingly. That's especially important on touch devices where you want to size controls to make them finger friendly.

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eridius 526 days ago | link

I think that's a red herring. Sure, the iPad mini has a higher DPI than an iPad 2. iPad 2 is 132ppi and iPad mini is 163ppi. But guess what else is 163ppi? That's right, every non-retina iPhone. So if your touch areas are large enough for an iPhone user to use, then it's large enough for an iPad mini user to use as well.

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natrius 526 days ago | link

It sounds like you're arguing for designing iPad mini apps as iPhone apps, which is contrary to one of Apple's major arguments for the device over existing 7" tablets. Apple wants iPad minis to run iPad apps. Their customers probably do as well.

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eridius 526 days ago | link

No, I'm advocating for not drawing a distinction between iPhone and iPad when figuring out the size of touch areas on touch-enabled apps, whether the app is optimized for an iPhone-sized display or whether it's a touch-enabled "normal" page.

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chris_wot 526 days ago | link

I don't think you quite understand. As the devices have different physical characteristics, they require designers to know the screen sizes and pixel density.

The iPad 2 has a screen resolution of 1024x768 with a density of 132 pixels per inch. The iPad mini has a resolution of 1024x768 with a density of 163 pixels per inch.

This means that if you design for an iPad2 you are guaranteed to have smaller fonts and elements than on an iPad mini. If you design for an iPad mini, then you are guaranteed to have fonts and elements that are too large. If you design for the middle ground then your design stinks when viewed on both devices.

As for the iPhone argument: people use media queries for a reason - they design differently for the smaller screen sizes of the iPhone than they do for an iPad.

It's essential that on a touch based device that you can work out how big things will be. Perhaps I can put this in a more concrete way: if you have ever tried to upvote a comment on HN via an iPad and accidentally downvoted the person, you will immediately see the issue of tiny fonts/UI elements.

Now make those down and up arrows 20% smaller.

As you can see from one of the links in the submitted article, even Apple's own website is hard to read on a mini. Not exactly inspiring. I'm quite surprised that such a design focused company didn't realise this was going to be an issue!

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eridius 525 days ago | link

Two counterpoints:

1) Why are you designing a site specifically for the iPad mini? That seems pointless. Media queries are great and all, but if you want to design specifically for touch then you should just assume a 163ppi, and that will be usable by everyone.

2) iPads typically see "full" or "desktop" websites. And they can scale. If something is too small at the default scale, then zoom in.

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erichocean 526 days ago | link

Why not just follow Apple's iOS control sizing guidelines, which are measured in pixels, and are exactly correct for the iPad mini (and slightly oversize for the regular iPad)?

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josteink 526 days ago | link

Why not just follow Apple's iOS control sizing guidelines

Because that is completely missing the point and leaving out every device not made by Apple (which is most devices in the market).

Your aim should be to have an overall strategy for how to handle the incredible amount of devices and variations out there. And to be honest, the iPad Mini adds nothing new to this mix.

We already had the form factor, we already had the size, we already has the DPI.

If you are making web-pages, make them work on anything reasonably capable, not just iGadgets. Anything else is a big "fuck you" to Tim Berner Lee.

Do you really want to tell mister world wide web to fuck of? Do you?

Besides, optimizing for iOS-devices seems passé and counter-productive. It's currently the minority-platform and its market-share is diminishing year by year now.

Android on the other hand, with its 75% and increasing market-share, now that sounds like an audience you do want to make sure you reach. If your website works well on a variety of Android-devices, you can be reasonably sure it will work on other platforms as well, iOS included.

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chris_wot 526 days ago | link

That's the point of CSS and media queries - to separate the style from the content. But in case you didn't read the article, you cannot in fact get the ppi value from the current version of Safari that is bundled with the iMac mini.

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notatoad 526 days ago | link

The size isn't that different: if your controls are small enough that they work on the 9.7" ipad but not on the 7.9" ipad, they are probably too small.

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chris_wot 526 days ago | link

If your controls are big enough that they look normal on an 7.9" iPad but not on a 9.7" inch iPad, they are probably too large.

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granto 526 days ago | link

Would it be helpful to be able to display certain buttons or other elements at a set physical dimension as opposed to pixel dimensions? For example, always show a button big enough for a finger (e.g., 1.5 cm). I ask because we recently launched a web app (www.lifesizer.com) that allows sites to display images in actual life size and think it could be great for designing mobile web sites, but comes with other implications for design, such as modifying layouts for devices with different screen sizes even if they have the same pixel dimensions.

We are currently focused on ecommerce and product review sites, but would love to hear if people think it would be helpful for a new take on responsive design.

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dancesdrunk 526 days ago | link

Precisely - I still fail to understand this need to constantly add the overheads for supporting multiple mobile platforms / devices.

Pinch to zoom / double tap are amazing features made precisely for this - if the text, image or control is too small I just pinch or double tap; takes a fraction of a second and I still get the whole website experience as it was meant to be.

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nucleardog 526 days ago | link

Until the developer decides he always wants everything pixel-perfect, writes a separate stylesheet for each device/class of device, and locks your zoom.

Fuck you, developer. Let me zoom. It's my device.

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Steko 526 days ago | link

There are some alternate browsers for iOS that allow you to send a desktop user agent. Sleipnir, Atomic, probably others.

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tamal 526 days ago | link

I'd much rather use features that are consistent and that I am familiar with on my device (zooming in Mobile Safari) than every Tom, Dick, and Harry deciding how they are going to cripple their site because User Agent =~ /Mobile/.

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dthunt 526 days ago | link

Then just find a way to kill javascript, and the world will finally be sane again.

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tomrod 526 days ago | link

> Some mobile sites are great, but only a very small minority.

Indeed! Wikipedia is a thorn in my side when browsing with an iPod.

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thedrbrian 526 days ago | link

Or any site running the dreadful onswipe.

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Yaggo 526 days ago | link

Even big sites such as wired.com and Youtube get it wrong, both refusing to serve certain videos for your flash-disabled desktop Safari unless you fake iOS UA.

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