The other day, a friend on Twitter noted the difficulty he was having in sharing a mobile URL. You know the type – http://mobile.foo.com/. For many years, people have ranted about the lack of utility of the “www” prefix on Websites – yet here we are, with a generation of sites getting obnoxious “mobile” prefixes instead. Hit a mobile site from your iPad – even when you’re not mobile, share it with a friend, and they’re not guaranteed to see a decent experience if they hit it from a desktop.
We’ve left the realm where sites need to feed out specific WAP versions to hobbled clients. If you want to serve up a version tuned to mobile clients, fine. Do it. But 1) Always offer an exit door for users to access the normal desktop view, and 2) don’t create a mobile URL. Use one URL – the one you market to the world anyway (www.foo.com or foo.com) – and serve the content you want to serve to each type of device from the same URL. That way if someone on an iPad shares with someone on an iPhone, someone on a desktop shares with a user on an Android handset, or someone on an iPhone shares with someone on a desktop, everybody gets the experience they want, without screwing around with URLs.