Mobile view. It’s something that originated a long time ago on basic flip phones which allowed users to browse websites on a very watered down adaption on their phone. As phones progressed, so did mobile view. While the “mobile” versions of many websites and applications are continuously growing closer to a full desktop experience, it’s not without the help of the “full desktop experience” becoming watered down in honor of successful mobile experiences. I for one am unsure whether I like the way its heading or I don’t, but I think I’m leaning more towards the more positive side of the spectrum.
Facebook recently announced that they’re going to be changing up the way the website looks and how it works once again, and for a change the reception seems to be welcoming.
Facebook, once a simple website that was only used for those in college to connect with each other, soon became one of the most popular social networks that everybody wanted to be a part of. Teenagers in high school were quickly adopted into the mix, and now you only have to be 13 years old in order to sign up for your own Facebook account. Through all of these changes, the layout has also changed from a simple layout that offered a lot of relevant information to a complex layout that offered irrelevant information. Facebook is now changing the layout to engage its users by focusing in on the actual important and relevant stories, and they label this new layout as being “inspired by mobile”.
Hopefully when they say “inspired” they actually mean it in the sense that they’ve taken the idea of Facebook mobile and the Facebook app and sort of tweaked it around to work with a desktop view, and not use the exact same interface designated for mobile use in the full web version. The issue I have with this is that the reception of mobile interfaces on the desktop thus far hasn’t really been too great.
Not naming any names, Windows 8.
I’ve actually been running on Windows 8 with my new desktop for about two weeks now. I spent the first two to three days organizing my Start menu, which is far different than any other Start menu I’ve ever used on Windows before. This Start menu is set up for use of a tablet, and since I actually purchased a model that did not feature a touch screen monitor (my first mistake) this feature is actually pretty useless to me. I normally opt to use the traditional desktop view. Without a touchscreen monitor or tablet, the Windows 8 interface really isn’t that convenient or engaging. A desktop still serves a purpose and if I’m going to pay this much for a more powerful system I don’t want it to run like a tablet.
In the same instance, I can see where this new trend can take a turn for the better. Just recently Facebook’s mobile users surpassed the amount of users logging in from a traditional PC, so why wouldn’t you want to cater to the interface with the popular vote? Since I haven’t experienced the new Facebook interface for my own just yet, I can’t say that it will turn out exactly like Windows 8 (although my first thought went there). Hopefully Facebook will have taken a couple of notes from Microsoft’s mistakes with Windows 8, and learn that sometimes what works best for mobile devices (gesture-based actions, namely) are best left on mobile devices, but a simplified desktop interface could be more pleasing to the eye (think Ubuntu).
I can’t say that the idea of a generally unified layout between mobile and PC applications could never work; it just needs to be executed in a way that works well, and that might take some trial-and-error to get it together. I am wondering if Facebook jumping on the “Desktop Gone Mobile View” bandwagon will encourage other social networks and websites to do the same thing. This seems to be a growing trend.
At one point it was less desirable to visit a website using a mobile device. With advancements in our smartphones and technology, the number of mobile website viewers continue to grow and now we are starting to see a steady decline of people using the desktop as their main web browsing source. Could incorporating a more “mobile” touch on websites stop the rumored death of the PC, or is that just making the point even more moot? Should the two systems be treated as individuals when it comes to websites and apps? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
Image via CNet