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Say It Right Series

Simplifying the Mobile Site

Posted by light487 August 25, 2008 in the Group General Discussion.

Tags: mobile, wap, hiptop, sidekick, site, Pinyin

Hi people!

I couldn't locate the original Mobile Site conversation so I decided to start a new one. This is more of a request and to see if other people share my view that the mobile site needs to be simplified a little.

I don't have an iPhone, I use a HipTop Slide (aka SideKick in the USA) to access the internet when I am on the go. For the most part I can view many pages normally and participate in "some" forums discussions, facebook, blogging etc but there are some sites that are very rich in Java and Flash that I am unable to access because my device does not support these fully.

When I go to most sites that support mobile devices, the site is tailored to suit the low-bandwidth requirements of these devices. All the images have been stripped off the page, all the flash removed, scripts are kept to an absolute minimum etc. You basically end up with a text-based page with one or two pictures, and basic input boxes if interaction is allowed.

So.. back to the Mobile cPOD site: Last month when I decided to go back to Premium membership, instead of just Basic (my needs have changed a little), I did so under the impression that I would be able to do most of the same things on my mobile device that I can do on the main site because there was a dedicated mobile site. Unfortunately, due to the large amount of flash being used to drive the site, I am unable to even participate in conversation discussions.

The "Lessons" page has large pictures for each lesson and a very long description of the lesson, just like on the main site. This makes it a chore to find the lesson I want and because there is no search function on the mobile site, I am unable to refine the displayed lessons down. I do see a "Filter" button there but it does not function for me because I think it is using Flash or something in order to send the requests. This is a cosmetic thing, for sure, but a simplified list like that one found on the main site's "Manage Archived Lessons" would be perfect for the mobile site.

So, overlooking that for the moment, I enter in on a lesson to find out that I can't listen to the content directly. This is just a restriction by my device, I can just download the MP3s at home and load them on my memory stick.. there's nothing cPOD can do about this.. even if it wasn't a flash player, I am not able to stream MP3s to my device. Anyway.. I can read the discussion comments left by other people but when I go to post my own lesson comment, the editor at the bottom does not allow me to post. I can type out my response in the editor but clicking on the "Add Comment" button does nothing.

In the Community Conversation section, it gets even worse. I am able to see the initial post by the original poster but all the comments are missing and just the "Loading..." text is displayed. Again, I can type in the editor box but can't get it to submit my comment.

One last thing.. My device doesn't have a great amount of language support, and whenever I view both Hanzi and the accented Pinyin, I am getting a lot of "missing" characters. Would it be possible to add the "numbered" type of pinyin to the PDFs or something for mobile devices that don't have great language support?

My subscription needs renewing again and I'll have to resign myself to the Basic level until such a time that the mobile site becomes a little more useable for me. It may sound like a step backwards by simplifying the mobile site and stripping it of all the unneeded content.. but in my opinion it's a step forward to allow more people with less-than-hitech mobile devices to access the site directly without having to do annoying workarounds just to use the site.

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