Why you suck, not the mobile web.

The botching of the mobile web experience isn’t the phone broswer, it’s the web developer.

So I felt a strong urge to express my opinion that the mobile web experience doesn’t have to suck. I just got back from an event hosted by Designers + Geeks in New York where Roy Stanfield, an Esty designer spoke about iOS 7 and the mobile experience. In short he explained that the current mobile conversion rate of web vs app are vastly different because of the experience.


And I agree that is it; but that doesn’t mean that it has to be. Everyone, and I mean everyone in tech bashes mobile web (over native apps) because it’s not responsive enough to touch, or that it’s too slow, or that it just doesn’t feel right… blah blah the list goes on and on.

I’m here to say that it doesn’t have to be a crappy experience for the user and we shouldn’t shy away from the web but instead embrace it. Developers need to stop being lazy.


Most frontend developers and designers build sites from the desktop down to the phone, though the trend is moving towards mobile first. Instead they need to focus on desktop and mobile separately as opposed to both at the same time. Mobile is a whole different animal and it should be treated as such.

Before you weren’t going to get the signature elastic scroll from iOS without a Javascript plugin, but now there is -webkit-overflow-scrolling: touch which is completely native and performs great.

You know that annoying 300 millisecond delay on touch? Use javascript to remove it so that it’s responsive to touch instantly.

How about the android text highlight on links? -webkit-tap-highlight-color: rgba(0,0,0,0) removes that.


All I’m saying is stop being lazy developers because it is possible to make a great experience via web on the phone, you just have to do your research and keep up with the incremental improvements. Flowdock and Soundcloud make beautiful phone experiences because they try. Web can still be a good path to take in development.

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