Update: Fixed! Thematic (In)Consistency Hall of Shame – Softonic

Update: sometime after this item was published, Softonic fixed the bug discussed here that caused mobile brosers following links to items on the Softonic blog to be redirected to Softonic’s mobile appstore.

Softonic Desktop != Softonic Mobile

It happened again.  I was happily reading the Twitter timeline in my mobile browser.  I saw a tweet with a link provocatively titled “Five reasons to give up Firefox”.  That sounded like the start of an interesting flame war so I clicked the link – and wound up on a mobile app download site with the Firefox piece nowhere to be found! Thinking I clicked the wrong link,  I hit the browser’s Back button and tried again but still landed on the mobile download page, rather than than the Firefox article. I’d discovered yet another example of thematic inconsistency

Thematic consistency is the principle that a web link should deliver the same essential information to all browsers. Reformatting content to better suit the target platform is fine but serving apples when the user asks for oranges is not.

Sites that break thematic consistency for mobile users bug me so much that I’m going to start calling them out here in posts tagged “Thematic (In)consistency Hall of Shame”.  Our first winner is Softonic.com. It’s a PC and mobile download site that also has a blog. The Firefox blog post is at onsoftware.en.softonic.com/five-reasons-to-give-up-firefox When you click that link in a mobile browser it redirects to  http://m.en.softonic.com/phones Actually, Softonic.com appears to redirect mobile visitors headed toward any page on the site to the start page of the mobile app store.  It doesn’t matter if the link is to a blog post, PC download or even a specific mobile download – all wind up on m.en.softonic.com/phones

Redirecting requests for a specific page to the mobile home page is very user unfriendly. Modern mobile browsers are generally capable of rendering desktop pages. If a resource isn’t available in a mobile formatted version, it’s better to serve the mobile user the desktop page than completely irrelevant content.

Related: Don’t Let Thematic Inconsistency Bite Your Mobile Users

5 thoughts on “Update: Fixed! Thematic (In)Consistency Hall of Shame – Softonic

  1. @Dennis / @Mike

    Thanks for highlighting that issue. We’ve just restyled our website, and there are still some bugs to be ironed out, but we are working on it. If you have any questions relating to this or to any other problem you find on our site, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

    Thanks for your understanding and feedback!


    Esther López
    Social Media Manager

    • Thanks for your reply to my ranty post. I’m happy that you recognize the issue and trust that your development team will be able to make the updated site work properly for mobile users.

  2. I don’t know if this counts but have you ever tried to get to ovi mail from Opera mini? It redirects you to nokia mobi with no way to get to the ovi mail sign in page.I’ve tried this with Opera mini on two different cell phones and an itouch. I can get to mail.ovi.com from bolt and safari in itouch no problem so perhaps it is a problem with Opera and not Nokia.

  3. Pingback: Tweets that mention Thematic (In)Consistency Hall of Shame | Wap Review -- Topsy.com

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