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Mobile Sites Too Horrible To Use

Updated on May 14, 2016
Screen Shot
Screen Shot | Source

I’m more prone than I like to admit to following shiny objects (in the form of catchy, fluffy article titles that I know in advance will lack substance, but can’t seem to resist).

My brain keeps track of what I think I’m about to read (the fluffy pay off I came for) long enough to ‘hang in there’ a bit if it the article is not initially delivering.

Until recently, when succumbing to this temptation on my cell phone, I would get a bit annoyed with pop-ups and having to dig for the content, but be able to pretty much hang in there on just about any site.

Giving up completely meant something was done pretty horribly wrong, and was not a very frequent outcome.

Websites shouldn't trick their users!

Hijacked by Playstore on AskMen during horrible attempt to read an article on mobile site
Hijacked by Playstore on AskMen during horrible attempt to read an article on mobile site | Source

Suddenly Sinking Mobile Standards?

All of a sudden there seems to be a huge and frustrating acceptance by fairly reputable sites of horribly low standards for mobile user experience. Or, possibly, I've just suddenly noticed it.

I’m not that picky, overall, and think about the content and the pay off far more than the nuances of user experience, if given half a chance by the site.

But a fluffy Huff Post article on their mobile site (we'll cover that in part 2) just left my eyes and my brain so extremely unhappy that I’m taking the time to write about ‘user experience’ which I’ve never done or felt a strong desire to do before.

This is the second time recently that a site has been horrible enough to inspire me to angrily abandon my hard-earned, already invested in, promised content or photo pay-off.

I’m focusing the earlier site first, for Part 1, to get my mind off the horribleness of the site I just experienced.

Huge Add Links and Tiny Content Links Are No Accident

Horrible User Experience Number One: AskMen

I guess I don’t have a strong sense of this site and have no idea if their standards have fallen or not. I was so frustrated with the mobile site, though, when I clicked a link from a Hub Pages forum, leading to an AskMen article on the top ten sexiest plus sized models, that I had to give up, even though I was really enjoying the content, in the context of the forum discussion.

I assumed this article was only poorly functional in its mobile form, but now that I’ve had the chance to compare, I’m not that impressed with the non-mobile layout either.

Screen Shot
Screen Shot | Source

Quick Side Note on Functionality

The think that drives me nuts on this site while using my laptop is the huge amount of wasted space at the top. It increases the work required to get to the content, causes the page to reload and ‘shift’ while I’m working for the content, and all around decreases my enjoyment of the content.

The reason I’ve taken the time for this diversion is that it seems to be an increasing trend. Even when I’m willing to work for a few more photos, I’m working way to hard to see the measely captions (which often lately are passing as content in place of an article). At no given time is any one frame or page (photo plus caption or even just the entire photo) visible all at once, unless I take the time to resize smaller than I would like.

It makes me wonder if I’ve got browser setting askew and so on and so forth, but most sites work just fine, so even that train of thought is more work than I’m willing to put into the shiny object I followed in the first place (but by that point am still unsatisfyingly far from attaining).

I haven’t figured out which sites are which as far as this goes, but it does tend to be the flashiest ones on the right hand side of my facebook feed. The upside is that it helped me remember to avoid them all and stick to the distractions I came to my laptop for in the first place.

Rating (Lower if Considering Misdirection, but for the sake of argument, here's considering navigability)

2 stars for AskMen Mobile Site
Peripheral mishaps while navigating this site included a delayed bedtime, burnt out light, and later, an earthquake--only one of which can (sort of) be blamed on the horrible mobile site.
Peripheral mishaps while navigating this site included a delayed bedtime, burnt out light, and later, an earthquake--only one of which can (sort of) be blamed on the horrible mobile site. | Source
The 4.5 earthquake later that night was far more pleasant than this mobile experience.
The 4.5 earthquake later that night was far more pleasant than this mobile experience. | Source

Mobile Functionality

This did not begin as, but became, a play by play because the site and experience was so much worse this time around that it became necessary. There may even be some switching of tenses, because the site was really just that bad.

The empty space that caused frustration on my laptop is, as expected, filled with an add on the mobile site. Below which is a red plus-sign-button that seems like maybe if you push it, it will give you the content you came for.

I do, at least, know better than to chance that.

But then, wait, the page is resetting, and the button is now at the bottom of a picture that actually clearly related to the article.

Cool. We’re on the right track, then.

We can scroll down, as long as we only touch the photo, and get to the actual content.

Ok, not so bad, worth reading.....and worth clicking to the next page.

For which a button says “start with ten”. Ok, I’ll start with photo ten.

The page starts to gray out, looking like we’re in for another round of the same waiting. I set down the phone to catch up on this hub, now that I remember what was frustrating.

I look at my phone and see a spammy made-to-look-like-virus-warning screen, which I back out of, which takes me to a screen made to look like a system warning, which I back out of AND END UP ON PLAYSTORE.

So, I’m done again with that site, having made it less than a third as many pages in as the last time I gave up. But hopefully I gave up before actually contracting a virus or purchasing some stupid app.

Before we leave this experience behind, I’d like to share that my light has burned out (so I'm typing in the dark), a fruit fly has been circling my screen (and seems to have bitten me), and my son has not had my attention while getting ready for bed (but you can see how cute he was, and how dark it is in here, because he asked me to take a picture of his tongue).


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