Some pony requests for Mobile September 14, 2009 6:56 AM   Subscribe

(Mobile) pony requests: 1. It'd be nice if commenting was enabled from the mobile site. 2. How about a "load more" link on the section pages so that we can get to older posts more easily. 3. This is a bit more pie in the sky, but it would be great if internal links were rewritten to point to the mobile equivalent. I know the mobile site is a bit of a ghetto in terms of attention, but it really is a fantastic way to get my fix.
posted by ChrisR to Feature Requests at 6:56 AM (23 comments total)

I don't know what phone you have but on Blackberry, get Opera and you can comment all you want. Remember to reload the page if you want to see your comment posted.
posted by parmanparman at 7:03 AM on September 14, 2009

pb pretty much said that they stopped development on the mobile site ages ago. So consider this a dead pony.
posted by special-k at 7:18 AM on September 14, 2009

Yeah, I'm perfectly capable of using the regular site from my phone. That doesn't mean that it's a superior interface; the mobile version of the site is easier to read, faster to load, and has a more phone-appropriate navigation model.
posted by ChrisR at 7:55 AM on September 14, 2009

works fine for me.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:09 AM on September 14, 2009

You know what'd be great? An API.

Then those of us so inclined could write a mobile interface.

v1.0 would need only to support fetching indexes and posts.

later on you could open up authentication, commenting, favorites and the whole la-de-dah, but I'd be happy enough to just be able to browse threads for now.

Otherwise, mobile clients are going to have to involve a bunch of HTML crunching, and nobody likes that.
posted by fishfucker at 8:19 AM on September 14, 2009

I would like to nominate fishfucker for Best Idea Ever Maker of the Week. If it is remotely feasible, a carefully implemented API could lead to a considerable fuckton of awesome.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:54 AM on September 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

posted by RikiTikiTavi at 10:40 AM on September 14, 2009

I'd be extremely happy with an RSS feed that linked to the mobile version of the MeFi pages. That's all I want.

Pretty please?
posted by blue_beetle at 10:41 AM on September 14, 2009

Hmm, I can't seem to post from the mobile site either. Safari, on the iPhone.
posted by fiercecupcake at 10:52 AM on September 14, 2009

I can't seem to post from the mobile site either.

We've never had posting from that mobile site. And yeah, we're not going to be updating the mobile version of the site. It is still up, but we're going to put our development effort into making the standard web version of the site work on mobile devices. The site at was a public experiment to see if having that alternate version would be helpful, and what kind of maintenance it would require. We set up that site with someone else's code, a "kit" that came out shortly after the iPhone. And boy is it not easy to maintain.

The new interface was helpful for a certain number of people. But we made the decision that the relatively high cost of updating someone else's code combined with the marginally better experience for some didn't make it worthwhile. So we're keeping it up for those few who found it helpful in its current state, but we're not going to update it. And we encourage you to use the standard site on your phone. If something doesn't work on the standard site, we'll try to make it work.
posted by pb (staff) at 11:09 AM on September 14, 2009

Can we expect a stylesheet of some type to make the site more accessible to mobile phones?
Safari, on the iphone. Hunting rhinos.
posted by disclaimer at 11:59 AM on September 14, 2009

I use the site all the time on my iPhone, and I'm fine with the default stylesheet. If you switch to the Plain Text theme on your phone it's much better. What improvements would you like to see in an iPhone-specific stylesheet?
posted by pb (staff) at 12:04 PM on September 14, 2009

Yeah, it works great in Opera Mini too, now that the commenting issue is resolved. Though I'm a little leery of OM after your discovery about the proxy. It's the only really usable browser for the Blackberry I've found, unfortunately.

posted by middleclasstool at 12:22 PM on September 14, 2009

What improvements would you like to see in an iPhone-specific stylesheet?
I'm not sure how to write this without sounding impossibly snarky, for which I apologise, but I'd like to be able to read the site, easily, in a goodish size font, with easy double-tapping to zoom in.

The site's tolerable in landscape, but it's really pretty bad for me when the phone's upright. The sidebar on the front page means that double-tapping to zoom the top posts doesn't work, and the viewport on the threads is so wide that you a) have to pinch zoom to get them readable, and b) then have to scroll horizontally to read a line. Brrrrrr.

Moreover, the controls are very small. It's hard to favourite while zoomed out, and flagging is a bugger to hit.

Finally, the posting box is way too wide, meaning a lot of jumping about while composing, even in landscape.

It's all these things that make me surprised you have no trouble at all, pb.

All that said, I'd love an API. I have an iPhone client here virtually ready to go if you ever decide it's doable.
posted by fightorflight at 4:30 PM on September 14, 2009 [2 favorites]

A lot of what fightorflight said: better zoom control, larger controls in the post line, and a smaller posting box.

I always come into mefi through the blue, then use the nav bar on top to get to the other subsites - genius! I know. This is harder than it should be in portrait mode and the nav on the mobile site is much better for this.
posted by disclaimer at 5:37 PM on September 14, 2009

Great ideas. I guess I'm so used to it that I don't notice the annoyances. I zoom way in to favorite or flag something, I wait until I'm at a browser to write long responses, and read in landscape mode. When I do need to write a short comment I click the box, the keyboard comes up, and I don't generally have to move around while composing. The double-tapping to zoom works fairly well for me everywhere.

Matt is the keeper of the stylesheet, so I'll discuss some of these with him when he's back in the office. I think a custom stylesheet could fix some of these problems and it'd be easy to add.
posted by pb (staff) at 6:01 PM on September 14, 2009

+1 on the API. Build it and we will come!
posted by jewzilla at 10:14 PM on September 14, 2009

I'd add more detail, but fightorflight nailed my issues with the non-mobile stylesheet more or less point for point. Mefi is fairly polished due to heavy use, but this doesn't shine through when the site is experienced through a mobile browser.

It must be noted, however, that this is not a Metafilter LLC problem; most sites suck on a mobile browser unless you're willing to "zoom way in to" do things.
posted by ChrisR at 12:04 AM on September 15, 2009

Yeah but it would add to teh awesomeness to have Mefi not suck on a mobile browser...
posted by disclaimer at 9:29 AM on September 15, 2009

+1 to fightorflight's comments. I use an iPhone and love the readability of the mobile site. The regular site is okay in landscape mode, but I wish the text was bigger.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 9:51 AM on September 15, 2009

Another vote for more investment in a mobile- (iPhone-) specific stylesheet. I'd also happily sacrifice functionality (flagging, favoriting) in favor of readability and quicker load times.

Now, where's the Gopher interface?
posted by mkultra at 11:22 AM on September 15, 2009

My biggest gripes about reading MeFi on the iPhone is how much of the navigation is all crammed together at the top:

Initial view
Horizontal view

Double-tapping the sidebar does help to get to my profile or MeTa or Recent Activity, but you still need to scroll back up and it feels a bit roundabout to me.

The old mobile MeFi site (which pb tells me is no longer supported) uses iUi, I think, and IMO is really simple and functional. If that could somehow be made to support posting comments in the thread view, I would definitely start using it again.

My favourite example of a highly functional, terrific-looking iPhone site to me is Politico (there's also a more generic mobile site): I especially like how all the categories are drop-down so you don't have to load a different page.

My ideal Metafilter iPhone site would sort of follow this model, with the initial view showing the latest 3 MeFi posts formatted like in the old mobile version, and directly below it a "More posts..." link that would lead to a page with the latest 15 posts or so (sort of an arbitrary number: 10 always seemed a tad too few to really keep up with the site, so higher than that anyway).

Still on the initial view, below "More posts" would be a drop-down for Ask, MeTa that would follow the same pattern as above. Possibly Music and Projects too: Music posts would have a direct link to the MP3 because the Flash is no use.

Below that: Activity, Profile (for logged-in users) and Popular. These could be plain links to different pages, but ideally they would be iPhone-optimized.

I expect a working mockup by Thursday.

But seriously, these are just my dreamy two cents. But suffice to say I would personally see the benefit of an iPhone-friendlier interface.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:41 AM on September 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

I had a dream that I checked back in on this thread and Matt had weighed in, taken everyone's concerns into account, and whip-bam-zang we had a bangin' iPhone-ready MeFi. I woke up sooooo excited.

(It looked great, in case you were wondering.)
posted by Captain Cardanthian! at 1:18 PM on September 16, 2009

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