Yesterday I wrote about Friendster’s redesigned mobile site. It’s generally pretty good except for one major usability issue. The problem is that Friendster is forcing all mobile browsers to use the mobile site, even “full-web” browsers like Opera Mini and Nokia Webkit which can easily handle the full version of Friendster.
Several Opera Mini using Friendster members were upset enough about this to complain on the Opera Mini support forum at MyOpera.com. Today Opera answered their complaints in a rather surprising way. Opera made a server upgrade that solved the problem. If you go to Friendster.com now with Opera mini, you will see the full web version of Friendster. If you prefer the mobile edition, just go to m.friendster.com.
So how did Opera accomplish this? I don’t really know and Opera hasn’t said but I’d be willing to bet that they are sending a desktop User Agent header instead of the normmal Opera Mini one if the request is going to the friendster.com domain. This is great for Friendster users and another demonstration of the incredible support Opera gives to the users of it’s free Opera Mini product. This is not the first time Opera has tweaked something to work around an issue that effects relatively few users. They’ve sent engineers to the US to get Mini working on the Sprint and Nextel networks and worked around model specific handset bugs to give landscape support to the old Samsung A900/920 and many similar fixes based on requests from a few users.
I do have mixed feelings about User Agent spoofing, though. Opera is a company that’s very serious about web standards. There have been a number of requests from users on the forum asking Opera to change Mini’s User Agent to a desktop one so that sites wouldn’t be tempted to force the mobile version like Friendster does. These requests have always be refused with the explanation that Opera doesn’t believe in spoofing sites into believing that Opera Mini is anything but Opera Mini. This is understandable, Opera rightly wants Mini’s true market share to be reflected in web statistics. More importantly, the User Agent is intended to identify the browser, changing it to make badly designed web sites work the way they should, while appreciated by users, does nothing to solve the larger problem of site designers blocking access to content on the basis of what browser is being used. I suspect that Opera contacted Friendster and tried to get them to treat Mini like a full web browser and only after that failed implemented the User Agent workaround.
Other changes in the Opera Mini server update (from the Opera Mini Blog):
- Added more country-specific default feeds. Will only show up on new installations.
- Added onClick events to the SVG support.
- Fixed compatibility with Outlook Web Access.
- JAD files can now only be opened, not saved.
- Improved support for radio buttons with onFocus attributes. This fixed problems with logging in to at least one site.
- Added a workaround to get to the desktop version of Friendster.
Because it’s a server upgrade, no downloads are needed, just fire up Opera Mini and enjoy.
Friendster Mobile Workaround
The New Friendster Mobile
FriendsterToGo – Too Little, Too Late
Candy, I’m not Friendster and can’t do anything to fix their bugs, you have to contact Friendster directly at [email protected]
i have a problem on my friendster account, it won’t accept my friend request,it always show that i have a maximum number of friends ,but it is just in 900+…………….
please reply on my yahoo mail,same name on my email-address…………
i’ll be waiting,for your resolution….Thank you
I don’t use Friendster much and haven’t customized my profile so I can’t really tell you how to fix it.
Friendster’s help page entry on profile customization might help:
Especially the last paragraph:
“NOTE: if you don’t see your customized profile after making your changes, go to your “Settings” page (top right of any page) and make sure your “SAFE MODE” setting is set to “NO”. If you still don’t see your custom profile and your safe mode setting is set to “no” make sure your skin is set to: ” No Skin/Custom CSS,”. If it is not, click the “No Skin/Custom CSS” skin button and then click Save. You should now see your customized profile.”
i click the revert button on my edit profile..then after that i cannot add any changes to my profile1how to fixed it?please help..i dont wanna be my profile look so boring! jeee…thanks! please asap!t hanks!
i have the same scenario… so kindly work on this…
thank you so much and more power…
IAmRanz, It looks like Friendster has broken access from mobiles again! I can’t open the site with Opera Mini, the Nokia Browser or UCWEB. I reported the issue on Friendster’s “Send Us A Question” page. I suggest you and anyone else having this problem report it as well.
Also, using the Bolt Browser on my phone Friendster works. Download it to your phone from:
Or to your computer from:
Hey, why cant i open the friendster website wit my opera mini 4.2? Help,pls! Asap!
@gibbs,I can’t fix your Friendster profile because I don’t work for Friendster. Contact Friendster them at [email protected]
i can’t open my profile,can you please fix it..
i wonder why my list of friends were deleted in my home page after the maintenance (November/08) of the friendster site … hope it will be restored … thanks a lot!
I agree with Dennis. Yes, m.friendster.com (your mobile site) might be very useful for mobile phones incapable of the full web format. However, mobile phones like the Nokia E90 and some N-series phones are capable of the full web version without errors. Why should these be forced and redirected to the mobile format? Like amazon.com, you are redirected to the mobile format, but you can choose to go to the full web format through a link in their site. Why can’t friendster do this instead?
Redirecting users of full-web mobile browsers like Opera Mini, Nokia WebKit and Opera Mobile to the limited mobile site may be the intended functionality but it’s not what I’m hearing that the users of these browsers want.
The mobile site is appropriate for the limited built-in browsers of mass market phones. Smartphone browsers and Opera Mini can render the full Friendster site very well and users have been doing that for years until the recent change by Friendster which is forcing them to the mobile site
Listen to your users and provide a way to reach the full site with any browser. To do otherwise discourages and drives users away from Friendster.
Accessing http://www.friendster.com from your opera browser will redirect you to m.friendster.com (our mobile site) and is intended functionality. We’re continuing to add new features the the mobile version but if you haven’t found all the features you’re looking for, you can go to http://www.friendster.com from your mobile phone and access the Help page. – Friendster Mobile Team
But I guess most of the smart phones are more than capable to handle the regular friendster site.
Safari can handle FULL facebook site which the subscriber can choose to access FULL or mobile site at our own free will.
Please teach us how to access FULL site from iPhone safari or similar mobile devices.
Already filed a bug report as you suggested. Thanks again
Wow Jon, you are right. Maybe it’s a regression of the Opera server fix. I’ll file a bug report with Opera and recommend you do the same. https://bugs.opera.com/wizardmini/
Thanks for this review. Had a chance to experience the full web version of friendster in my Nokia E90 using opera mini v. 4.1. However, just moments ago, when I tried to browse friendster.com again, it returned me to the Mobile version and I cannot anymore access the web version inn my Nokia E90 using opera. I think friendster detected this and wants us to go to their mobile version which is not that helpful. We should be given a choice like amazon.com where you can choose to view the full web version. Any updates on this? Thanks.