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Dec 8, 2008 05:33 PM

New mobile device site - I'd like to love it, but I don't

I've been browsing Chowhound from my iphone nightly since I bought it two months ago, and I haven't had any problems. It sometimes loads a little slow, but I can live with that. Today it seems you have launched a PMD (portable mobile device) site, and my first reaction was, Hooray! but quickly turned to boo. Unless I'm missing it, there's no place to log in, which means I can read all I want but I can't post. Also, you have to go from page to page within a thread if there are a lot of posts. And since I can't log in, there's no way to hide what I've already read. There are probably more issues, but these are the first things I have noticed.

Other websites with a PMD companion site have the option to go to the original site, but I am unable to get there on my iphone. I am redirected to the PMD site, regardless of what I type into the address bar.

The PMD site is certainly very readable and it looks nice on the iphone. I appreciate that you have made the effort to create a PMD site, but I do enjoy the interactivity of Chowhound. Can anybody address this for me? Thanks.

BTW, I had to fire up my laptop to post this message :(

ETA: I just noticed that the most recent post on this Technical Help board to show up on the PMD site was posted 21 hours ago. Same with Not About Food. For whatever reason, there is a huge lag time. Not good at all.

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  1. My gripe is similar to lisavf's, whereby there is nowhere to log in but mainly my issue is that the site now requires a mobile user to move from page to page to page within board posts, which while commuting underground is impossible to do. I actually thought that having everything load at once was a benefit to mobile users but I guess that is not the case.

    Could future CH mobile site designs consider the way that pages are displayed, whereby the user has the choice to select the option to receive all posts at once, or limit the number of posts per page, please?

    10 Replies
    1. re: eller

      Thanks everyone for your feedback. These are totally warranted and understandable complaints. For now, the mobile site is in BETA to reflect it's limited functionality.

      We have a long list of features we want to add for phase 2 which include, primary, login ability so that you can post, save, and customize the boards and save recipes, etc. We see mobile interaction with the site the most essential element. That being said, we wanted to launch something that would allow users access to all the rich content behind the articles, recipes, restaurants, and Chowhound boards. So, that's what is included in the Beta launch.

      Thanks for using the mobile site and have hope that in the coming months we will be making it as useful as the website.

      emily (of CHOW)

      1. re: 5 and Dime Eater

        the option to use the non-mobile version would be a nice-to-have. actually, more than a nice-to-have.

        1. re: tommy

          And actually, for me right now, rather essential. I bought my iPhone because I am traveling to Paris next week, and I thought it would be an extremely useful tool to use during my travels. Being able to access the France board on CH - not just read but post as well - was one function I was planning to use. I can't do that if I cannot log in and access the full CH site. Seriously, can you PLEASE allow mobile users to access the non-mobile site now?

          1. re: lisavf

            off topic, but mind your data roaming charges!

            1. re: tommy

              Good point. Thanks for the warning. I'm buying an international use plan for one month, so I think I'm covered. I will just have to monitor use so as not to go above the usage I'm paying for.

              1. re: lisavf

                I believe if you put the iphone on 'airplane mode" and just leave wifi on you can use wifi but pay no roaming charges.

        2. re: 5 and Dime Eater

          "We see mobile interaction with the site the most essential element. That being said, we wanted to launch something that would allow users access to all the rich content behind the articles, recipes, restaurants, and Chowhound boards. So, that's what is included in the Beta launch."

          While there is a ton of content available on this site, it is presently unavailable to mobile users who want to access it quickly and easily. Tommy's request to have an on/off switch for mobile view is key at this point while you test and implement new versions, as right now I cannot select a specific board to read, or get to a link sent to me via email. All I can do is unsuccessfully select a region and get routed back to a California-centric page.

          Please do not take the risk of alienating your mobile users, registered or new by keeping the present beta version in place as the only option to view this site.

          1. re: eller

            I agree with the above users. Please give us the option to use the beta or the full site. Currently, the beta as it is is only an alpha and is actually hurting me from contributing to the site.

          2. re: 5 and Dime Eater

            I appreciate the move to make Chowhound more mobile-friendly, but the mobile beta's functionality is so limited that it is far less useful than using the standard Chowhound site through a mobile browser (as the OP explained). As an iPhone user, I've found the mobile browsing experience good enough on 3G and excellent on Wi-Fi, and it's a big step backward to be forced onto the mobile app now.

            If phase 2 is indeed not coming out for months, then would CH please consider pulling the beta site entirely until phase 2 is ready and reverting back to allowing mobile browsers to access the standard site. The mobile beta site really is far worse, and for me at least there is no value whatsoever in trying to use it to access Chowhound from my iPhone.

            1. re: david kaplan

              I couldn't have said it better. Hear Hear!

        3. I don't have an iPhone but wanted to post the email I rec'd from a lurker in case it's helpful to the developers:
          "But as a reader, not a poster, I'd just read in rss feed
          (google reader) and follow links to thread from there. Chow pages like
          5 posts inefficient. Google proxy shows lots. True, nesting makes text
          column narrow.

          chow would be better without the site doodads crowding
          MY small page."

          10 Replies
          1. re: Melanie Wong

            I agree with the above posters. While I appreciate the attempt in creating a mobile site (long overdue BTW), the lack of being able to "pass through" to the original site is a glaring omission. Please fix this issue ASAP!!!

            1. re: bgut1

              ... looking into it (per TH board) ...

              1. re: 5 and Dime Eater

                Is everyone on this thread on an iPhone? I don't see a mention of other devices.

                  1. re: bgut1

                    iPhone 3G here, running OS 2.2.

                  2. re: 5 and Dime Eater

                    Blackberry Curve, running Opera Mini (v4.2) browser.

                    1. re: 5 and Dime Eater

                      HTC Touch Diamond. Windows Mobile 6.1, Opera 9.5 and IE

                      1. re: Professor Salt

                        Is that the opera 9.5 beta? I'm using an HTC Mogul with WM 6.1, but I found that Opera 9.5 caused all sorts of weird sync errors with Yahoo mail, so I uninstalled it.

                        Mr Taster

                      2. re: 5 and Dime Eater

                        Blackberry Storm with included default browser.

                        1. re: 5 and Dime Eater

                          Nokia E70, on T-Mobile (US). Hate the mobile site - I still have to scroll within the page, but now I have to click many times to see more portions of the page; can't see more than six pages of recent entries to my preferred board; can't post; can't even turn off the mobile site! I used to spend my subway rides home reading a juicy Chowhound topic, but the frequent need to click means I can't rely on Chowhound to give me reading matter for the 10+ minutes I spend underground and out of reach of a cell tower.

                  3. Much like the other posters on this thread I'd like to voice my displeasure with the mobile site.

                    I understand that you have to got through a BETA phase but in this case, your test is a complete failure. The site is all but unusable. I tried to find my posts yesterday and couldn't I ended up in some sort of loop and gave up.

                    The idea that you get feed back on what is working and what is not is good but if nothing works/no one is using it, it's a flat out failure.

                    Until such time as an option to use the full site is available, I won't bother. I don't much care for other site's PDM anyway.


                    PS, for those interested I have an Ipod Touch.

                    1. And just to add, I would be happy to provide feedback on a mobile site during beta phase if I also had the opportunity to go to the standard site at will until all the bugs are worked out.

                      One item of feedback: My current interest is the France board. On the mobile site, threads from both the France and Hong Kong boards are showing up under the France board.

                      1. Just my redundant two cents to fan the flames of discontent with the hope that if we keep crying out for a revolution TPTB will grant us access to the non-mobile site. This is an Internet/chow addict freaking nightmare for those of us who do any regular Chowhound browsing on our mobiles. Like another poster mentioned, I, too, commute underground and really valued being able to load up all the posts of a busy topic and being able to read them on my way wherever. Another poster mentioned they couldn't really navigate anywhere but California, and it took me several seemingly-intuitive-but-apparently-not, incredibly frustrating tries to get to another region, and everywhere I went the most recent posts were 22 hours old. God knows etc etc I appreciate the end goal, but for the love all things holy, please give us access to the non-mobile site while you beta. I beared with the change to the new site layout, I loved that yellow-cream background option something awful but this is just too much! What the hell are we supposed to do during meetings now?

                        (Admittedly, if I weren't on an Iphone and accessing the site from an un-smartphone this would be a banner day.)