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Short-form writing for the times I genuinely have something to say about a place, subject, or thing.

The Mobile Web is Different From the Regular Web


In the time I’ve been using my iPhone, I’ve used Mobile Safari to visit many web sites as prompted by billboards, television ads, magazine articles and so on. Keep in mind, a company has advertised to me in a medium that should indicate to them that perhaps I may not be sitting at my computer. I mean, what are the odds that I saw their ad on the side of that bus and I can whip out my MacBook Pro to view their web site? Pretty slim… but hey, I’ve got the entire Internet in my pocket, right?

Yet consistently, companies do not have a mobile version of their site available. You’re served up a full size site, loaded with content you can’t read, with tons of links you don’t need, and usually huge flash banners that you can’t see right next to some videos you can’t play. Really? This is the mobile web? Well, then… I guess it sucks.

And to make it worse, many of my peers in the design community say things like “Smart phones have full browser capability these days,” they continue, “why should we spend the effort to create a mobile version?” Here’s why: mobile users are different from desktop users

Smart phones have full browser capability these days... why should we spend the effort to create a mobile version?
— Some lazy developer

I know... this seems crazy—to think that when using a 4.4” screen I would prefer a different set of options than when viewing a site on a 24” Monitor - pffft - completely silly, that.

vw.com 'Our Cars' page...

vw.com 'Our Cars' page...

And Finally, to the Point

My faith in the mobile web and the companies that play therein has been restored by none other than one of my all time favorite automobile brands - Volkswagen. The other day I saw a VW commercial that mentioned the “CC” during the last fleeting moments of it’s 30 second spot. I said to myself “The WHAT?” and grabbed my iPhone to see what I could find out about this fine looking auto.

I opened Safari on the iPhone and typed in vw.com/cc - you know, just to see what pathetic joke of a web site would be presented… and BAM! A beautiful, simple, obviously mobile version of the site loaded immediately. *whimper*

Somehow (duh, research), VW knew exactly what I wanted to see… three big buttons for clicking—‘Our Cars’, ‘Find a Dealer’ and ‘Assistance’. One of these buttons was absolutely pertinent to my immediate need of seeing the CC. *clicks ‘Our Cars’*

Woo-hoo! More big, fat buttons for clicking (okay, tapping) with fingers… Gallery or Features—Gallery, please. Oh my goodness, so that’s the CC… it’s fantastic! Yeah, I viewed every single gallery photo and loved the entire experience. Das Auto, you rock. V-DUB FTW.


Now, that’s what I call the mobile web. Within a few short minutes of VW’s tantalizing television commercial, I know exactly what the CC looks like - inside and out - I know the features of the car, & I want one right now (as if). Once embraced, this is gunna be big, kids.