News24 and the Endless Mobile Stupidity

News24 is rated as the 9th most visited website by South Africans on Alexa, ahead of popular sites like Twitter and Pinterist. Even so, ever tried using News24 on your mobile phone?

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I am very much a fan of AdBlock – a desktop Chrome browser extension that removes all ads from webpages. Unfortunately, Chrome for mobile doesn’t support browser extensions and so I am left with the rather large Rubybox ad pasted across the bottom of my screen. Ok, I’ll just ignore it.

Open up an article and we see the standard News24 article layout – we have an image to the right and text is left-aligned. Everything nice and readable, until you scroll down past the image and the text wraps all the way across the full width of the page.

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Now what? Well, you could zoom out – now the text fits the mobile screen, but unless you have 20/20 vision, you ain’t reading that!

Never fear, we’ll just flip the phone sideways and read in landscape view!

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Oops. Where did the text go? Clearly the RubyBox ad is set to resize to 100% of the page width and now it’s the only thing we see. Thanks News24.

I can almost hear the News24 guys shouting – but we have a mobi version, you should be using that! Ok ok, lets head on over there. At the bottom of the site, we find a link to the mobile site:

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And tada!

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Eh? Other than the top article, only the headlines are shown. We know of course that news writers are blessed with the wondrous ability to write the most ambiguous headlines, as the first headline from this screenshot illustrates beautifully:

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Looks like our football woes are all but over!

I can only assume that they are trying to save space, or cut down on bandwidth, or whatever other mobile friendly schemes they came up with.

So we scroll down…

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and down…

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and down…

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There is no end in sight – every link, ad and useless cross marketing blurb to every useless 24.com property I never want to visit. But at least they saved a bit of space by NOT showing any news.