New Mobile Website Version


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | March 31, 2016      
New mobile WildSnow.com website.

New mobile WildSnow.com website.

Hey everyone, I’ve been working my tail off creating a clean mobile website version with a decent “hamburger” dropdown-slideout menu. It’s getting there. We’ve tested on fairly current iPhone and Android, but feedback is welcome. Please know I’m a big fan of larger “touch targets” and readable text so I’ve set things up to be fairly jumbo. One thing I’ve noticed right away is the only way to hide the menu is to click on the hamburger icon. It should also hide when you click over on the content or the back button. Oh well, ever onward.

Design of this is ongoing. Please note that none of the banner ads are pop-over or pop-up or otherwise annoying. As always but bears repeating, we could never afford the time and money to do WildSnow.com without the advertising from our gracious sponsors. So please please turn off your ad blocker*. Seriously, you won’t find any obnoxious advertising. No animations, no flyouts, nothing.

Web developers out there: Yes, I’m still playing around with having two separate website versions instead of one fully “responsive” version. So no need for lectures about that (grin). It’s an ongoing project and perhaps I’ll cut bait. We shall see.

Thanks, Lou

*Note about ad blockers: Advertising such as ours is “pay per view.” Thus, if you turn off the advertising you turn off our wages. Please be kind.



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Comments

61 Responses to “New Mobile Website Version”

  1. Mike morris March 31st, 2016 11:24 am

    Much easier to navigate. Thanks!

  2. billy March 31st, 2016 11:54 am

    can we make you a little extra if we click on ads?

  3. Lou Dawson 2 March 31st, 2016 12:55 pm

    Billy, most of the ads are pay-per-view and clicking as a favor is frowned upon, though I’d encourage anyone with a legit interest in a company to explore their advertising, as most companies do watch how many clicks their ads get. As for the pay-per-view, it’s counted over a daily time period.

    Appreciate all you guys being here and letting the ads run

    Lou

  4. Jeremy C March 31st, 2016 1:25 pm

    Hey Lou,
    I get the new site format on my iPhone 6 with latest iOS, but no sign of the hamburger icon under either Safari or Chrome. I don’t have any ad blockers running.

  5. Lou Dawson 2 March 31st, 2016 1:30 pm

    It could be hidden at top, be sure you have scrolled everything all the way down so you’re looking at the top of the website and it’s not covered up.

    We’re testing on two Androids and an iPhone and it’s working on that stuff… this is always tough.

    By “Safari or Chrome” you mean you’re still on mobile device, correct?

    Thanks, Lou

  6. Jeremy C March 31st, 2016 2:05 pm

    I just tried the switch to desktop site, and the menu appears over the desktop version, if I then switch back to the mobile version, no menu.

    By Safari or Chrome I mean the apps on the iPhone. I can email screenshots if required.

  7. Jeremy C March 31st, 2016 2:06 pm

    By menu I mean the Hamburger icon, which displays the menus.

  8. Lou Dawson 2 March 31st, 2016 2:19 pm

    Hi Jeremy, thanks, it sounds like it’s confused (grin). Stand by. It also might be a caching issue on your rigs. Lou

  9. Shawn March 31st, 2016 2:19 pm

    Also no menu appears in Chrome on Samsung S6 with Android 5.1.1.

  10. Lou Dawson 2 March 31st, 2016 2:31 pm

    I’m wondering if this is a Chrome issue… as I can’t see it on my desktop either, with Chrome, and with menu set to display everywhere. I’ve still got some tweaks to try. Stand by.

  11. Jeremy C March 31st, 2016 2:52 pm

    I now have the hamburger menu option in Safari and Chrome. Not sure if you did anything. I just closed both browser apps and restarted them, no caches cleared.

  12. Lou Dawson 2 March 31st, 2016 3:16 pm

    I changed to a different menu system entirely. Are you seeing the hamburger now on left up above everything instead of to left of the red text WildSnow.com – Mobile?

    Thanks, Lou

  13. Jeremy C March 31st, 2016 3:34 pm

    Correct, the menu icon is now above the banner text. Works for me.

  14. Lou Dawson 2 March 31st, 2016 3:46 pm

    Super, that’s a different menu system, i’ll let stand and tweak the design over next few days. Thanks, really helped to know it wasn’t working before. Lou

  15. Brendan Lewis March 31st, 2016 5:45 pm

    Hi Lou,

    It looks perfect on my Android phone but the mobile also loads by default on my Android tablet and it’s not scaling properly on the tablet only using the middle 50% of available screen with grey bars taking about 25% per side.

  16. Lou Dawson 2 March 31st, 2016 6:19 pm

    Brendan, at the bottom of the website you’ll see an option for Desktop Version, please click and let me know if that does better on the tablet.

    What I’m doing here is being a nonconformist and saying NO to “responsive” websites that blow up to fill your screen no matter what. Instead, we have two different designs, one for narrower viewports as with smartphones, and one wider for desktops.

    I’m not sure this is the way, but I’m attempting to follow my heart.

    Lou

  17. Shawn March 31st, 2016 7:58 pm

    Looking good now in chrome on Samsung s6.

  18. BenL April 1st, 2016 12:23 am

    Also working well on my IPad now, was doing ‘the strip down the middle’ thing initially but all good now.

  19. Frame April 1st, 2016 4:11 am

    Hi Lou,

    If you ever find a space on the mobile website to show more than the latest 4 comments, that would be a nice feature. Could comments go into the hamburger menu (or below ads)? If when you tap on a comment it takes it to that comment rather than the top of the article, that would be a nice to have, but don’t want to take you away from the actual blogging!

  20. Lou Dawson 2 April 1st, 2016 7:06 am

    Ben, the “strip down the middle” is simply because we run two different website designs and your iPad was loading the mobile version, which is fixed width skinny. At the bottom of the website see a link for “switch to *** version” and you can toggle between mobile and desktop.

    I have a lashup installed that attempts to detect your device and load appropriate version of site, but that doesn’t always work, or I play around with the settings while testing site.

    Desktop version is usually going to be better if you have the width to display it.

    Thanks for visiting!

    Lou

  21. Lou Dawson 2 April 1st, 2016 7:09 am

    Frame, both your suggestions have been at the top of my list for a while. Great minds think alike (grin). The “click through” direct to a comment is functionality I accidentally stripped out while tuning the mobile site for the fastest loading possible, I’ll put it back in ASAP. I’ll also work on displaying more comments. Thanks, Lou

  22. Brendan Lewis April 1st, 2016 8:52 am

    In that case it works perfectly Lou.

    Sure looks great

  23. Lou Dawson 2 April 1st, 2016 8:54 am

    Thanks Brendan, enjoy!

  24. Frame April 1st, 2016 9:35 am

    Cheers Lou, was just putting my cat in it’s speed lycra suit, so indeed great minds thinking alike.

  25. GeorgeT April 1st, 2016 2:27 pm

    AT&T phones in the Roaring Fork Valley? Must be April Fools day?

  26. Lou Dawson 2 April 1st, 2016 3:41 pm

    Hey Frame and all, that really was obnoxious to not be able to tap a comment link and have it jump to the comment, with mobile site. Took me about an hour to track down the mistake but it be done.

    Nice to have, I use it myself quite a bit while browsing on my mobile.

    Thanks everyone for prodding me to get this stuff done.

    Lou

  27. Lou Dawson 2 April 1st, 2016 3:57 pm

    All, I put a short version of comments list above sidebar banners on mobile site, then per Frame’s suggestion I put a nice long list of recent comments down below the advertising. I’ll style it all eventually, but for now, it works and I’m going skiing (grin). Lou

  28. Lou Dawson 2 April 1st, 2016 4:38 pm

    George, am continuing my experiment of not having a cell phone plan, so it doesn’t matter what brand of phone… I’m just using Google Voice and Google Hangouts, got the cheapo used Ebay AT&T phone because any AT&T phone will work with European sim cards, while Verizon phones will not. Hassle.

    When I need to make or receive texts/voice on the road I use a Freedom Pop hotspot.

    So far I’ve saved a bunch of money and been able to tell Verizon to locate something where the sun is obscured, after they told me their phones worked in Europe but they did not, and of course kept their “elastic” bills coming.

    First 512k on Freedom Pop is free, most months I stay under the limit.

    Again, interesting experiment. Works better in the metro areas where you’re always within 5 minutes of some wifi.

    Lou

  29. Frame April 2nd, 2016 12:47 am

    Nice work Lou, thanks and bon ski

  30. Stuart Clark April 2nd, 2016 1:27 pm

    Not being funny but you should pay a professional or consider buying a web site template to customize, there are plenty of good ones out there. It wouldn’t cost that much and remember this is your business. You will get a much better end result.

  31. Lou Dawson 2 April 2nd, 2016 2:13 pm

    Thanks Stuart, problem is that actually most templates (known as themes in the WordPress world) are bloated junk. Believe me, I’ve probably spent 200 hours testing them. Paying a pro, however, is something I do on occasion and will do more. Point taken.

    Meanwhile, mobile sites have shown that site design is more a matter of speed and ease of reading/clicking than it is of wowing people with amazing design tricks. That’s actually been a laugh as I did do website design for quite a while in the flat HTML table based days, and we’d obsess on making art. Then mobile comes along and everything is blown completely out the window, especially for content/news type sites.

    Honestly, makes me laugh. But yeah, I’m not proud about getting help, though funds are limited.

    Thanks, Lou

  32. Stuart Clark April 2nd, 2016 2:45 pm

    Hi Lou I hear what you say about the wordpress themes they can be a real pain in the ass. Have you looked at the bootstrap templates that you can get they’re pretty good these days and easy to customize. I’m a web developer by day and they’re a great place to start if you want a basic clean design that is mobile friendly out of the box..somewhere like this is a good place to start https://wrapbootstrap.com flick me an email if you want I might be able to give you some help/advice

  33. UpSki Kevin April 2nd, 2016 2:46 pm

    Lou/Stuart, I’m pretty sure there is some extra room in the WS offices for a couple more desks so you bring in some web development ‘professionals’. I can just see it… WildSnow – the next Backbone Media

  34. Lou Dawson 2 April 2nd, 2016 2:51 pm

    With all due respect to Stuart (I’ll email him), 99% of the website development I see seems to be designed for the developers and their clients, rather than the readers. That’s probably basic economics… owners want to see cool stuff on their own website, developers want to impress themselves and other developers. I see this all the time. (It reached its height of absurdity in the Flash days). I’m probably the opposite, for better or worse (grin). Lou

  35. Lou Dawson 2 April 2nd, 2016 3:09 pm
  36. Stuart Clark April 2nd, 2016 3:21 pm

    There are good and bad templates just like anything else..
    If you want full control have a look at a plain vanilla bootstrap web site https://getbootstrap.com you have to build it yourself but it’s a good Framework to work with 🙂

  37. Lou Dawson 2 April 2nd, 2016 3:44 pm

    Yeah, apparently Newsweek in based on Bootstrap framework. Google rates it as mobile friendly, though I’m not seeing Newsweek as any more visually apealing or user friendly than, say, wildsnow.com (grin). In any case, believe me, I spend quite a bit of time on the back end, including development. It’s an evolutionary process. ‘best, Lou

  38. Stuart Clark April 2nd, 2016 3:59 pm

    Bootstrap is written by twitter..

    Think of it as the building blocks to build your web site for css & JavaScript rather than starting out from scratch..the main advantage is that all your browser compatibility and responsive design is taken care of to begin with…that’s a great place to start from then you can customize it to your hearts content..

  39. Rich April 4th, 2016 6:54 am

    All works well on my 5s.
    Re menu. I find white on black harder to read than visa vesa.
    Also the red on black title is very hard to read .
    Rich

  40. Lou Dawson 2 April 4th, 2016 7:04 am

    Hi Rich, thanks, that’s the kind of help I can use. I totally agree about the red on black. It’s lame. That’s a good example of what drives me crazy about the internet these days, as that’s actually a menu system I paid for and while the mechanics are good the built-in design tools are like something you’d get from a bunch of capuchin monkeys on iPads (grin). I’ll be working on it, after I find a monkey I can pay as a consultant. As for the white on black menu, I don’t particularly like it either. For example, WildSnow.com has from the beginning been black text on white background, that way all through the years when web “designers” were making hip unbearably cool websites with weird text that was hard to read but they could show of to their friends at the coffee shop where they were cyber squatting. In any case, can you give me an example of a fly-out or pull-down menu and website combo that’s easy on the eye? Happy to take a look and learn.

  41. Jim Milstein April 4th, 2016 5:58 pm

    The iTouch displays WildSnow well, though, given a choice, I prefer to read it on a big screen. Who wouldn’t?

    Your work, Lou, is heroic in keeping the site working on all the things people want to read it with. I always try to click through WildSnow when buying from its advertisers or when just checking out the market, in the belief that this is the most effective way to support WildSnow.

  42. Rich April 5th, 2016 12:48 am

    Hi Lou
    Thanks for your reply
    Hmmm funny I started looking for some good examples and funnily enough heaps had white on black 🙂 Typisch!
    I think in terms of legibility what I noticed is that the text size is generally larger and the font sharper . Not sure if that helps.
    You may find a good example of When using chrome on your phone. Goto options (touch the horizontal ellipsis on top right ) and then goto bookmarks. There you have a hamburger style menu button which slides right. And …. It’s even black on white 🙂
    Hope that’s helpful.
    Rich

  43. atfred April 5th, 2016 7:52 am

    Hi Lou,

    as someone who rarely makes calls or texts and thus finds it hard to justify a high (or any) monthly charge, but who would like the occasional apps benefit of a smart phone, I appreciate your suggestion of Freedom Pop. I’ll check it out.

    So, you find AT&T phones work best in Europe? Good to know for my annual trip there. Any particular model you prefer?

    Thanks much for the advice.

    fred

  44. Lou Dawson 2 April 5th, 2016 8:03 am

    Atfred, it’s not that they are particularly an “AT&T” phone, it’s just that phones that work on the AT&T system in the U.S. have the correct internals to work on the European systems. It gets confusing, and I’ve found that just buying an unlocked but branded AT&T phone, used, cuts through the confusion.

    Sounds like you’re a candidate for cutting the cell towers out of the equation. Best way to experiment is buy a cheapo used smartphone and operate it without a cell plan, and see where you get. It’s not easy, quite a jungle of apps and stuff, but having the phone and playing around really helps.

    I’d add that you can still dial 911 on a phone that’s within range of a cell tower, even if the phone is not on a plan. Cell providers are legally required to allow this. Best to test, however. Just call 911 and say you’re testing your cell phone. You might get scolded, that’s the worst that can happen. We pay those guy’s wages.

    Lou

    Lou

  45. Lou Dawson 2 April 5th, 2016 8:08 am

    Rich, I’ll work on the type size, I’d like it to be larger. It’s tricky because on a phone menu you need enough padding around the active links so a finger touch is easy. That’s why good mobile site designers end up with websites that are not necessarily going to wow you with their amazing graphics, but instead, hopefully, simply work and are readable. That’s my goal with WildSnow. Thanks, Lou

  46. See April 5th, 2016 8:10 am

    “I pay your salary” is right up there with “Do you know who I am?”

  47. XXX_er April 5th, 2016 9:12 am

    After my buddy couldn’t read the printed height figures on his 2 piece BD poles I e-mailed BD to point out the demographic of their users was getting old so maybe they want to think about make the numbers bigger on all their gear?

  48. Lou Dawson 2 April 5th, 2016 9:18 am

    Well, lots of people have different degrees of vision impairment, I learned to be sensitive to that when I was building websites for a living a long time ago, and I’ve kept it in mind ever since. All too easy for a guy with 20/20 and a pair of 36 inch monitors to get side tracked from the basics. Weird text on weird backgrounds used to be the biggest offender, now it’s the challenge of tiny mobile screens. Lou

  49. Rich April 5th, 2016 10:30 am

    Sounds great .
    Sorry, but one more thing….
    I noticed that when touching on a link it does not change colour or get underkined .I personally think that’s a nice feature especially if connection is slower and you’re not sure if you touched the right link.
    Rich

  50. Lou Dawson 2 April 5th, 2016 10:33 am

    Hi Rich, indeed, I like all my links to be standardized in initial appearance and have a hover behavior as well as a “visited” indication. Thanks for reminding me, I’m pretty sure at least part of that is easy to implement. ‘best, Lou

  51. Lou Dawson 2 April 26th, 2016 5:58 pm

    On Android in mobile mode, hover behavior (long press) seems to be a popup window with various options including “open.” same on iPad. Rich, what device are you on?

    Desktop site does have hover behaviors, though a bit inconsistent I’ll admit.

    Thanks, Lou

  52. Lou Dawson 2 April 26th, 2016 6:02 pm

    By the way all, I got a $130 iPad for testing, everything looking fine on that guy anyway… Lou

  53. Lou Dawson 2 July 24th, 2016 6:07 pm

    Hey everyone, stage 64? of WildSnow website improvements summer 2016 is now implemented and in public beta testing. This time, the improvement is “server side” caching that might make the site scream in terms of speed. Let me know what you see. Main issue is it’s possible you’ll see the mobile site on your desktop, or worse, the desktop site on your mobile.

    We are testing on a couple of PCs, iPhone, Android and iPad and it’s all working for us. But that’s just us.

    Appreciate feedback.

    The plan here is to have all this buttoned down before I start doing journalist traveling this coming winter. Instead of battling the website configuration issues, perhaps I’ll have extra time to bring you the goods!

    Lou

  54. Jim Milstein July 24th, 2016 10:36 pm

    Loads briskly on OS X El Capitan. On an iPod Touch 5g (iOS 9.3.2) I had to select Mobile Version manually. Reader view looks good on the small screen.

  55. Lou Dawson 2 July 25th, 2016 6:33 am

    Hi Jim, my automatic mobile theme switcher senses the User Agent of your device, I checked and it should work, perhaps it’s loading the desktop cached file instead, which is the challenge with all this… I’ll keep checking. Lou

  56. Jim Milstein July 25th, 2016 9:02 am

    I cleared History and Website Data, which incidentally cleared all that for all the devices on the iCloud account, then browsed to WildSnow on the iPod. It loaded quickly and in the Mobile version; so, it seems to be working as you intended on this end. Reader View, rotated to landscape aspect, is really easy to read. To be sure, I don’t normally read WildSnow on the iPod, but others with iPhones very likely do. Same iOS.

  57. Lou Dawson 2 July 25th, 2016 10:06 am

    Ok, that sounds pretty good. Appreciate you messing around with it.

    It’s an imperfect science. Luckily both site themes are basically the same thing, only real problem is when the desktop theme loads on a small viewport it can get jumbled up and difficult to read or even find the “switch to mobile version” link down at the bottom. Thanks, Lou

  58. Lou Dawson 2 July 25th, 2016 10:11 am

    P.S., this might be too geeky, but it should be said we now have “server side caching” and “browser caching,” meaning there are two caching systems that operate somewhat independently of each other. When you clear your history etc. you are clearing your browser cache, but that has no influence on the server cache other than the fact that if the server cache has changed, clearing your browser cache will force your browser to to load from the new server cache. Make any sense LOL ? I did all this in steps over a period of several months, as doing it all at once causes the brain to bleed out the ears if any problems need to be sorted out. Lou

  59. Frame July 26th, 2016 7:03 am

    All looking good on the mobile site Lou.Went straight to mobile version. Android, Sony phone, in the UK.

  60. Lou Dawson 2 July 26th, 2016 8:00 am

    Thanks Frame, we had some problems on the admin side of things due to the new caching system, but it seems to be working quite well on the public side. Prepping for winter! Lou

  61. Lou Dawson 2 September 29th, 2017 4:59 pm

    Noticed the search page on our mobile version was really messed up, cleaned it up a bit. Not perfect but useable.

    Reminder, if you want to run the “desktop” version on your mobile, link to load it is at the bottom of all pages.

    Lou





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