If Then Else

The Guardian is one of my favorite sources of news. The articles are typically so full of rarely heard language that I am occasionally tempted to reach for my thesaurus and brush up on my failing English. In addition to being a great source of vocabulary, this newspaper also has some of the best writers in the business. I've given up reading anything from North American papers because this one outlet from the U.K. makes the "infotainment" that comes from Canada and America appear less insightful than the newspapers here in Japan1. What I don't understand about the Guardian, though, is how a company that is known for it's attention to detail and getting things right can mess up their web properties so much.

Take for example this happy screen shot.

Here we have a mobile website loaded on a desktop browser. How is this even remotely possible? The site has the capability of detecting if a mobile device is visiting the desktop website and redirect accordingly, so why not go the other way around? It's really not that difficult. Heck, this site here will scale for huge desktops, normal-sized desktops, tablets, and mobile devices all with the same site design. In 2012 it's just silly to have more than one website design for any given property.

Confusion aside, want to see something funny?

Looks like this is an incomplete mobile site. No real advertisement? 320x53? Will people who visit with a Samsung Galaxy S Note II LTE Premium Mega also get treated to a 320 pixel wide site? What if they're viewing it in landscape rather than portrait?

Scary.

I understand that big organizations cannot possibly change their site designs every year2, but it would be nice to see a little more thoughtfulness and consistency put into the work. If a mobile device visits a desktop-optimized site, then it only makes sense to hand the reader over to a mobile-optimized site. The reverse is also true. Not only will readers appreciate this, but advertisers who pay the big bucks to be seen will appreciate knowing that more people are seeing whatever wares or services they're trying to peddle.


  1. I will admit that I read the wrong newspapers in this country, though
  2. or every 4 months in the case of this site
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