I was working late adding some finishing touches to a mobile workshop I would be giving at the BBC the next morning when I run a twitter search looking for “bbc mobile” – and it turns up this article on the BBC about poorly designed mobile sites ‘drain smartphone battery’ – how pertinent!
I read through, and here’s my take and criticism.
The reporting on the BBC site is excellent, or excellent to me because it’s a digested form of the original report and begins with this quote:
We hope this paper demonstrates the importance of building a mobile site optimised for mobile devices.
“Perfect!” – I exclaim to myself. But go ahead and try reading the report. It may be clear to a hardened engineer, but I’m be prepared to be 9 out of 10† web workers (web developers and designers all under one cosy roof) would a) not follow the report, and b) likely not make it to the end of the report. It’s not written for them – or rather it’s undigested.
† I’d actually wager more than 9/10ths, but it’s a catchier term!
The BBC article does pick up on two messages, one that’s a pretty nice take away (and frankly, I managed to glean this from the article too):
…using the .jpeg image format instead of other file types like .gif and .png
This appeared to save on battery. If only we had the flipping connection type API in more browsers we could use media queries to fix this elegantly.
What’s interesting is (unsurprisingly) Gmail comes up trumps on performance (in the non-eating battery performance metric) but what’s more interesting is the reasons “why”. The paper claims:
The first highlighted
onclick is to star the email, the second for selecting it for some group action, and the third, yes, that
div element, that has a click handler on it to open the message. Not “using HTML links to open email messages”. Just to drum the point home – do you notice even one single HTML (anchor) link in there?
Not to be ignored
The BBC article does conclude with:
The research is to be presented at the World Wide Web 2012 conference in Lyon this week.
…technically, if the phone had great power, I guess the responsibility would go out the window because then you could go wild, but you get my gist – be wary this isn’t a constantly powered device like a desktop computer. Most of us know how crap mobile phone batteries can be.
I’m just looking forward to web friendly interpretation of these and future results.