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Mobile Rage - What causes it & how to fix it

Mobile Rage - What causes it & how to fix it

That website you want to use, from your mobile, that just refuses to cooperate. From the annoying "we have an app", to the can't f**king log in, to the redirect-to-mobile-&-forget-the-context sites, there's more than enough websites that invoke Mobile Rage.
The best mobile development strategy is "mobile-first", but what if you can't? Come learn about the common mistakes most people make for mobile, & some of the simple solutions you can use.

Lori M Olson

April 23, 2012

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  1. Lori Olson • The WNDX Group Inc • Independent contractor

    • Used Rails for since 2005 (0.13?) • Mostly oil & gas apps 2
  2. • What is it? • Who experiences it? • Why

    has it become such a problem? • How do we go about fixing it? Mobile Rage 4
  3. What? 5 What is Mobile Rage? Some people wouldn’t call

    it rage at all. Mobile frustrated. Mobile annoyed. Mobile peeved.
  4. It’s that feeling of intense frustration you experience, when using

    web applications or web sites from your mobile device, and they JUST DON’T WORK RIGHT. 6 But I call it Mobile Rage. It’s that feeling of intense frustration you experience, when using web applications or web sites from your mobile device, and they JUST DON’T WORK RIGHT.
  5. 8 The smart phone users. The tablet users I’m not

    talking about dumb-phone users. I mean, T9 predictive text rage is just a given, so anything on top of that is just superfluous.
  6. 9 I mean, T9 predictive text rage is just a

    given, so anything on top of that is just superfluous.
  7. 10 Here we are, at the inflection point. Smart phone

    shipments will EXCEED personal computer shipments this year. http://www.webdesignshock.com/responsive-design-problems/
  8. Overall smartphone ownership is up by 13% in the past

    six months in Canada, according to Ipsos Reid. Now, more than one-third of Canadians own smartphones—up from just one quarter in August 2011. - Techvibes http://www.techvibes.com/blog/canadians-loyalty-to-blackberry-vanishes-as-android-and-apple-gain- marketshare-2012-04-20 11 Seriously. One third. Now that’s a market share you just can’t ignore.
  9. Why? 12 Why are things SO bad? Somehow we got

    to this point, where so many web sites and web applications invoke so much rage amongst consumers? How long has the web been around? I built my first website in late 1994. 18 years ago. How many websites and web applications are relatively static... because they work... good enough? Well, Rails applications have been developed for around 8 years now. Eight years ago, mobile was just barely on most product radars, and the iPhone *didn’t exist*, except in Steve Jobs secret little world.
  10. How? 13 So how did WE get here? And how

    do we fix it? Well, the answer for us Rails developers is simple isn’t it? Because Rails developers only work on greenfield projects, brand NEW web applications
  11. Mobile First! 14 So we just develop these new applications

    using mobile first. This is where you START and I would argue this is where you finish as well. Your application design should work on mobile first, and then you work on the desktop representation.
  12. 16 Our applications adapt to mobile seemlessly and everything is

    all rainbows and unicorns, right? Because we don’t have to support any old applications, that were built and designed before anyone ever heard of mobile first and responsive design. We certainly never have to integrate with old applications, or existing CMS systems or anything like that...
  13. • Landing • Advertising • Navigation • Forms Problem Areas

    18 So if we are going to talk about how to fix things, we should probably start with defining the problems. So let’s talk about the general classes of problems that induce mobile rage
  14. Psst! Did you know your app is slow on mobile?

    20 Hey, did you know that your web app is slow on mobile? Ya, that’s what I thought.
  15. Javascripts • jQuery/UI • could be replaced by Zepto.js •

    Top loading • Bottom Loading 23 We know that loading Javascripts can be a problem
  16. CSS 24 Certainly some old sites, where developers have been

    hacking at them for years, have big, bloated CSS files I mean, you’re never really sure that removing something won’t break something obscure, right? Much easier to just keep adding to it.
  17. Images 25 And then of course there are images. With

    the rush to support iPad retina displays, our images are getting even more bloated than ever.
  18. Asset pipeline! 26 But wait a minute... javascript, CSS, images....

    Don’t we already have a way of dealing with some of this in Rails. The asset pipeline. Now, that’s all very fine for your new Rails apps, however
  19. Pre-Rails 3.1 apps? 27 Asset pipeline can be added, just

    not in the totally integrated fashion that we have now. But really, wouldn’t it just be better to use this as another argument in favour of upgrading those old apps?
  20. Landing Strategies 28 So, once we get past ts;dw we

    have to deal with all the different strategies that developers have hacked together for dealing with mobile. Some are older, some are newer.
  21. Flash-only 29 While it seemed for a while that Flash

    would survive the iOS onslaught, the sad fact is that Flash is dead on mobile. And when I say sad, I’m not really sad, but I assume there are some Flash developers out there who are sad. There is really no excuse at this point for having a Flash-only site, or even a Flash mostly site. Honestly, the biggest offenders here are restaurants, and other similar enterprises, that just wanted a “web presence”, and hired some agency to build one for them.
  22. 33 You are viewing this page because your computer/device doesn’t

    have the Adobe Flash plugin. But you can download and install the plugin by clicking here!
  23. 34 Hey, why not insult your web visitor while you’re

    at it! http://thetoshibatablet.com
  24. 35 That’s a nice mobile device you have. Unfortunately, you

    can’t view your digital edition on this particular mobile device. This, while not ideal, is probably the best (least rage inducing) of the bunch. In fact, this is a screen capture that my husband took. Not only did it NOT induce rage, but he actually LOL’d
  25. Full Site 36 Leaving Flash behind us for the moment,

    let move on to more of the “do nothing” landing strategies. This is probably the option that causes the least amount of rage. The smart mobile browsers can view a lot of web sites and applications, with some issues. But if it mostly works, that’s pretty good.
  26. Forced redirect 37 Some Javascript that checks, determines that your

    mobile device is not worthy, and and dumps you into the mobile site Bad enough when this is on the homepage, but when you have a link, that could/should take you to the exact page you want, but... the mobile redirect kicks in, and punts you out mobile
  27. Mobile walled garden 38 This is a follow on, of

    the mobile redirect. Already pissed at not being able to get directly to the page you were after, now you discover that the mobile site is
  28. No “Full Site” link 40 2. entirely walled off from

    the full site and you *can’t* get back to the full site.
  29. Calgary Herald 42 Here I am, on my iPad, but

    it’s been detected as an iPhone, so I get the squishy, narrow version that works (ok) on the phone, but is exceedingly annoying on the iPad. And, of course, there is a link that will take me to the “Full Site” (all the way at the bottom), but it takes me to the front page of the full site, not the story I was reading. Ok, I think we’ve come full circle here, so lets move on to the
  30. Apps 43 So another landing option is to not bother

    handling the mobile devices in the web browser at all. Instead, there’s an app for that!
  31. 44 If people don’t WANT your app... If they CHOOSE

    to use your full site... Just let them!
  32. Advertising 46 Advertising is, in many ways, the bane of

    our existence, as consumers of the web. However, as web app developers, we know that there’s money to be made in advertising, so we do it anyway. But maybe. since it’s so annoying anyway, we could do it better on mobile...
  33. Popovers 47 You know these. Popups. Lightboxes. You’ve never liked

    them on the desktop. But on mobile, they are even worse. The (sometimes) delayed popup version is even worse. You got to a page, you double tapped to zoom in to the text, and BLAM, there’s this annoying popover, covering up the content, and when you try to zoom out, you inevitably, accidentally click on something from the popover, and you are now on a new page. What fun! A more evil version of this problem, is where the popover is sized so that it extends beyond the edges of your mobile screen, so that you cannot immediately dismiss it. You have to guess... is this the once with the ‘X’ on the top right corner? Or the one with the little, tiny “Cancel” link, hiding neat the bottom. But it gets worse. Because some of these will dynamically center themselves... so, as you attempt to scroll around, to find the dismiss button, it will continually adjust itself, to stay in the center, and keep those dismiss controls properly hidden.
  34. National Geographic 48 I had this awesome example, where National

    Geographic had the lightbox from hell, but... They seem to have fixed it. Oh well. I mean, YAY!
  35. Redirects to ad 49 One mitigation strategy for popovers and

    lightboxes, at least in terms of advertising, is ... one of my least favorite bait-and-switch techniques. But, at least it’s not a lightbox. The link redirects to an ad or video, and then has a x second timer that will take you back to the link you actually wanted. While generally, this is a rage item, it’s the lesser of evils.
  36. Navigation 50 We all know that navigation on your site

    is important. Once you have people there, you want to keep them.
  37. Size matters 51 Sorry guys, but... On mobile, the size

    of the links/buttons make a huge difference in the usability of your web applicaiton. While those little ‘x’ close/delete buttons may seem like a good idea on the desktop, to maximize your available space for stuff like “text”, but missing the link can sometimes do... something completely different
  38. Spacing matters too 52 But it isn’t just about the

    size of your links and buttons. You can actually leave the size alone, if it seems reasonable, and readable, but then you will need to adjust the spacing between your links and buttons.
  39. 53 Here is an example from one of my applications.

    We made a sizing change (on the accordion headers), and we made padding and margin changes on the rest of the links
  40. How much? 54 Of course, you can go and read

    the Apple Human Interface Guidelines (and you probably should anyway), but I’ve found that good, visual example is always superior to reading dry facts and figures.
  41. Phone Finger 55 PhoneFinger is a nice little Mac app

    that changes your mouse cursor into a full size finger, for use with the iPhone and iPad simulators. Reading Human Interface Guidelines is good, this is better. You will experience exactly the kinds of annoying missed link, wrong link clicked kinds of problems that your visitors are experiencing.
  42. Forms 56 And now we come to one of my

    personal demons. Form entry on mobile. I could go on for hours, but I’m running out of time, so lets just concentrate on signin, signup, profile editing. Believe me, you will find MORE than enough rage-worthy problems, on just those 3.
  43. signin 57 Starting with signin ... most services these days

    let you use an email address as your account identifier. But how many of those services actually take advantage of the mobile convenience known as the custom keyboard?
  44. 63 Amazon - WIN! Apple Store - FAIL?!? And, if

    you are going to say “use the app”, I’ll just have to mention that you can’t actually buy anything from the app, unless you’re in the US Apple Store. WTF?
  45. text_field(:user, :email, :size => 60) email_field(:user, :email, :size => 60)

    64 The simple fix here, which is almost too embarrassing for words
  46. signup 65 And let’s move on to sign up. Here,

    I have a nice little anecdote, of attempting to sign up for a new service that everyone on Twitter was recommending a few weeks ago.
  47. 71 I give up. You win. Or maybe I should

    say, you loose. Because I gave up, and iDrive lost a new customer.
  48. text_field(:user, :account_name, :size => 20) text_field(:user, :account_name, :size=>20, :autocomplete =>

    'off', :autocapitalize => off) 72 Here is a fix for the autocomplete, although, I understand you may have to make it a form attribute, as well, for Firefox browsers As for the password thing, it’s not really a mobile thing, but... don’t make arbitrary decisions about these restrictions.
  49. 75 And here I enter in my homepage address with

    the custom keyboard for URL’s... Oh, Twitter. FAIL again.
  50. text_field(:user, :home_page, :size => 120) url_field(:user, :home_page, :size => 120)

    76 The simple fix here, which is almost too embarrassing for words
  51. text_field(:user, :cell_phone, :size => 20) phone_field(:user, :cell_phone, :size => 20)

    79 The simple fix here, which is almost too embarrassing for words
  52. In retrospect • There WILL be more mobile users than

    not, if you haven’t already got there • Old applications cause lots of rage • Applications inducing mobile rage aren’t good for the bottom line • If you can’t go back & do it the right way, go and do all the little things, because they DO make a difference 80