Check it out at mobile.myspace.com. It’s amazing how how the internet giants are rushing to the off-portal mobile web. It took AdMob to show that there’s real money in mobile advertising. Next Microsoft, Nokia, Google and DoubleClick jump into the business of delivering mobile ads. That seemed to trigger News Corp, which had limited MySpace’s mobile presence to exclusive carrier deals, to open it up to everyone.
MySpace may be late to adopt the mobile religion but there’s very little wrong with the actual MySpace Mobile site. Navigation is easy with access key shortcuts. Images are limited in number and size to allow the site to load on even low-end phones. Almost all of the features of the PC version have made it to mobile; blogs with comments, photos, friends, bulletins, search, status and mood. Missing in mobile are the themes and customization so popular in the desktop version and, at least for now, videos and music. Search on mobile is limited to finding users by email address, the PC version also supports searching by name.
Speaking of email, MySpace uses an email address as your login ID. Like Facebook, MySpace’s whole architecture seems to based around the email as ID, it would be almost impossible for them to change at this point. But as I’ve said before, email addresses make lousy mobile ID’s . For the mobile edition, MySpace should follow Blogline’s lead and allow users choose an easy to type alias as an alternate login.
While on the subject of usability, mobile.myspace.com redirects browsers it doesn’t recognize, including the very popular Opera Mini, to the PC site at myspace.com. Excuse me, but I wouldn’t go to the trouble of typing mobile.myspace.com on the funky phone keypad if I wanted go to the PC site. Using browser detection on a site’s main URL to direct mobile and desktop browsers to the most appropriate version is good. But media-specific urls like mobile.this.com or anything .mobi need to always go to a mobile site. Browser detection is not foolproof especially with stupid operator tricks like changing the user agent. Users who get misdirected need a way to force the selection of the site they really want. For example, wapareview.com/blog uses browser detection to send phone browsers to the mobile edition but wapreview.mobi always goes to a mobile site and pc.wapreview.com always delivers the desktop version. It’s about giving users control and choice.