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I Am Skooter
So here's us, on the raggedy edge.
One left her sweater sitting on the train / and the other lost three fingers at the Cannery
— Neko Case, Margaret vs. Pauline
December 28, 2011
Mobile Site Interstitials

With a rapid rise in the user of mobile devices for browsing and a lot of sites publishing their own site specific apps there’s been a trend towards mobile site interstitial pages. Having your own app poses an interesting dilemma for some sites, but these interstitials are just part of a larger trend of problems with browser aware home pages that attempt to serve mobile content.

In the early days of mobile content, a lot of sites would redirect mobile browsers to a mobile specific home page. This may seem sound in theory, but in practice links that are sent out through Twitter and other social media posts were broken: clicking on a link for a specific article would, instead, take you to a home page and you’d have to find your article all over again—if you cared. The Georgia Straight did this for a long time, though I think they’ve since stopped.

Next was the interstitial pleading with you to download a site’s app. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been asked by IMDB to download their app. I refuse every time, but they keep asking. This is exactly what persistent cookies are for friends: stop pestering me into a form of behaviour I’m not interested in.

The other day I clicked a link and saw the interstitial pages above, with an app download button so large and a continue link so small I couldn’t actually select it. I’m not entirely sure what the point of this sneaky little trick is: downloading the app requires several more steps, so you’re not going to fool me into it. If I can’t click the link I can’t continue and you’ve just lost a page view, and a probably a bunch more from other people in similar situations.

Really though: are there that many people who need to check FailBlog every day that you should even be distributing an app?

Sometimes the land rush to the new mobile world demands a bit of careful consideration, and I don’t think it happened in this case.

Posted by skooter at 8:47 AM This entry is filed under Technology.

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