Briefly: does the mobile web suck?

Nilay Patel had an interesting article at The Verge about the limitations of the mobile web. His argument is that web browsers on mobile devices are terrible, which leads people to look content through apps:

Apps have become nearly irrelevant on desktops because the web experience is close to perfect, while apps are vitally important on phones because the web experience is dismal.

It also leads to companies like Facebook and Google trying to ‘solve’ the mobile web problem by either putting their content inside a walled garden (Facebook) or strip out most of the web page (Google).

He does mention that part of the reason The Verge loads so slow is that their website is because of the amount of crap they’ve loaded into it:

Now, I happen to work at a media company, and I happen to run a website that can be bloated and slow. Some of this is our fault: The Verge is ultra-complicated, we have huge images, and we serve ads from our own direct sales and a variety of programmatic networks. Our video player is annoying. (I swear a better one is coming, for real this time.) We could do a lot of things to make our site load faster, and we’re doing them.

I saw an interesting response to Nilay’s article on the lmorchard blog, where picks up on this last point about the crappyness of The Verge’s website. His takeaway message is:

… there are many things that can make the mobile web suck. Bad CSS layout, heavy UI frameworks, you name it. And, yeah, browsers can get better. They are getting better. There are interesting capabilities on the horizon.

But, I can’t help thinking if everyone shrank those tracking & advertising icebergs down to some sane magnitude relative to the actual content, that this web might be a better place overall.

This latter argument sounds much more sensible to me. Doesn’t it sound like a better idea to strip out the crap on the web rather than trying to make the crap move faster?

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