are there webpage types that are particularly inconvenient to read on the small smartphone screen?

my own WAG (which I have not tried verifying for lack of smartphone and laziness wrt setting up an emulator) is that making sense of a forum discussion would be harder on small screen than on a large one. Well, sufficiently involved forum discussions may be a bit hard to make sense of even on a big screen too :slight_smile:

So I was wondering if in the opinions of other people, whether personal or peer-reviewed published ones, this sort of phenomenon may exist for any particular type of webpage. Not necessarily “forum”, maybe “classified ads” or “latest news” or whatever else.

Or is it generally held that inconvenience (or lack of it) of using the small screen is pretty much uniform across the different webpage types?

This question should be taken to refer entirely to the non mobile webpages, i.e. to the ones that have been designed for normal screens first and foremost.

It’s usually not so bad. Here’s what happens with a forum. You start with this, which is too small so you double tap on the section you want and get this. I can hold it out as far as my arm will allow me and still make out 99% of the text. As you can see here, it has just zoomed in on the section I wanted. I can scroll to the right and see the rest of the page. Some sites have different sections of content so you have to double tap to zoom back out, then double tap a different section to read it. But it’s not much of a problem.

Replying is a little harder. The text box doesn’t resize on some sites so you have to scroll back and forth to reread your post, and it’s usually not very easy to switch between different pages/tabs and copy/paste links on a phone. There are forum apps which make it a little easier, but if you don’t have a hardware keyboard, the software keyboard hogs a lot of screen space so you probably want to get to a computer to post a complicated reply.

The only sites I’ve had trouble with are sites that I’d probably have trouble with on a computer too. I’ve seen one with a popup ad larger than my screen, but it stayed centered so I couldn’t scroll to the X to close it. That site was very ad heavy and had a lot of javascript crap like scrolling statusbar text and was nothing I’d usually be interested in seeing on the phone or computer. Two years of using smartphones and that’s the only one I can remember, but I don’t do a whole lot of browsing on the phone.

It was not really all that hard and I used a Palm W, IPAQ and of course now the iphone. With tapatalk, the ability to follow and quote replies is much improved.

The ones that are a pain in the ass, are the ad generated revenue pages. Some sites do it better than others, but there is no real great incentive at this time to go to a smartphone re-direct version of the site. Worse, are webpages that embed hyper links in the text of what ever your reading ,and its easy to accidently click on these.

Or is it generally held that inconvenience (or lack of it) of using the small screen is pretty much uniform across the different webpage types?

I think I have answered this in my above statements, but it should be remembered that the web is a secondary function of the smartphone. They can do it, but the internet capability is more likely to be in the form of RSS readers, or other dedicated applications.

Until the providers can think up a paid way of flogging their product, there is not really going to be any sea change in the way that some content is viewed.


I use Dolphin browser and so far every webpage has been sized perfectly without any adjustment.

Flash sites like

Fubaya +100. Very nice pictorial explanation, thanks a lot.

For forums in and of themselves, I bought tapatalk. Well worth the 3 bucks. For other web pages it’s a lot of pinching and zooming. Generally, web browsing with a phone is a pain in the ass. I just got the new mobile firefox and it seems to be ok, the stock android browser sucks IMO.

Threaded forums like Slashdot are also hell to navigate due to the lack of horizontal real estate.

Only if you have a relatively archaic phone without flash support. It’s fairly usable for me on my Nexus One which is more than a year old at this point.