Escape From The Mobile Web

I’ve moaned about stupid design patterns on the mobile web before, but here’s another example of just how frustrating it can be when web developers decide to lock you out of their site just because you happen to be using a mobile device.

This time the culprits are Singapore Airlines, one of my favourite airlines. Shame their web presence sucks.

I have a flight coming up shortly and there’s a great big flight cancelling ash cloud floating over Europe at the moment, so I thought I might check the airline website for an update on any cancellations.

Unfortunately if I head over there on my iPhone, I get this:

20110524-212656.jpg

Oh great. I’ve been “automatically redirected to Singapore Airlines mobile which is optimised for mobile devices”. I just love it when that happens.

Ok. Let’s click the link to go to their mobile website:

Um. Ok. Sure. I’ll agree to anything if you just let me in to your site.

But then there’s this:

What? I just want to look at your website to find out whether you are cancelling flights. Why do you need my phone number? What are you going to do with it?

But ok I’ll type in some random numbers just to get through the next hurdle. Finally we get to the site:

Oh. That’s it? There might be a link to flight status down the bottom, but that means putting in an individual flight number or route. If you just want to find a general news item about the ash cloud like the one they have on their full desktop website but you happen to be using an iPhone or similar then you’re out of luck.

No link to go to the full site. Nothing.

Thanks web development team at Singapore Airlines. I love it when developers decide on my behalf that my device isn’t capable of rendering their site and lock me out.

Luckily, there’s a solution to this and all other future annoying mobile web related issues: a bit of Googling leads me to this website recommending an app called “Journey Web Browser Lite”–a Safari replacement that includes one genius feature: browser user agent spoofing.

Settings -> Pretend To Be -> Firefox 3.0

In your face annoying web developers:

(Also: look! Look at that battery meter: it cost me 5% of my battery to take those screenshots. Gotta love the battery life on a two year old iPhone…)