The Guardian recently relaunched its mobile site, bringing the look and feel of the site more in line with the newspaper’s website, and moving away from the AvantGo platform.
I criticised the Guardian’s mobile site a few months ago, as it was a poor relation to the newspaper’s excellent online offering. It was also hosted by AvantGo, which meant that users had to go through a registration process and a site intro before getting to the news headlines; not good for users on slow mobile connections or expensive mobile internet tariffs.
Now, it has launched a new version of its mobile site which is much more usable and appealing site:
The site works very well on an iPhone and looks pretty good too. The homepage shows the top three or four stories for each of the news, sport, business and culture sections, which limits the amount of loading and scrolling needed. It also presents the five most read articles, which is a nice touch.
Content isn’t too restricted though; users can select more headlines from each of the four sections, or use the menu towards the bottom of the page to select whichever section of the site they want to access:
So, there is a decent range of content on offer through the mobile site, though I couldn’t seem to access some of the blogs from the main site, including the PDA blog, which is a pity.
Articles are well presented and easy to read, and the related content at the foot of the article is useful:
Unlike some other mobile news sites, the Guardian even has a site search function. It worked well enough for the terms I tried, but it could do with some basic tools to filter search results by section, relevance etc, or to provide a brief excerpt to help find the right article:
It has done a good job of recreating the main site as far as possible on mobile. There is a good selection of content available, though some sections are missing, and it isn’t possible to leave comments from your mobile, which would be useful.
There are some useful features though; the live over by over coverage of cricket and text commentary on football matches will be very useful to fans on the move, and is a service that isn’t offered on The Times or Telegraph mobile sites:
The only advertising I noticed on the site was these Google text ads at the bottom of each page, which aren’t too intrusive:
There are a couple of improvements which could be made though; some of the links, especially for related content at the bottom of articles are too close together, making it easy to click on the wrong one on a touchscreen phone.
Also, The Guardian could do with a redirect for users arriving through mobile browsers, as the main Guardian page is difficult to navigate, even on large mobile screens. A link back to the full website is provided from the mobile version anyway.
Aside from this though, The Guardian has produced one of the best mobile news sites I have seen so far, managing to provide a good range of content while still keeping it usable.