Sentinel: Your Web-Performance Watchman

A quick counter to 'The Digital Agencies of the Future!'

Written by on CSS Wizardry.

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This is a quick counter argument to a link that seems to have been doing its rounds on Twitter today. The link in question is a page full of screenshots by Narrow Design of some fairly large agencies’ websites as viewed on a mobile, in this case iPhone, browser. It’s clearly making a point/taking the piss that a lot of these big names haven’t bothered designing a mobile friendly site. Here is my defence (yes, defence) of those agencies…

The link:

Anyone who runs/owns/works in an agency will know that the last client is themselves. The company site is the last one to get attention, behind those of the clients who pay and keep your agency afloat. As such, it’s fairly common (and almost a given) that your agency site will be somewhat behind, always needing a makeover ‘when we’re quiet’.

Mobile browsing has only taken off pretty recently. It’s no surprise to me that these agencies simply haven’t got round to redeveloping their site in this short time-frame. It’s just not going to happen, it’s a big undertaking and a large opportunity cost to any company. Splitting off a team of developers to work on an internal project is a big move, which means that you need to be fairly financially safe to do so.

This in itself then turns the mockery around somewhat–a company that busy that it’s not got round to rebuilding its own site is, if anything, a good agency.

Of course, this excuse won’t fit all the agencies whose screenshots have appeared in the list, but it’s a seriously valid excuse. Further still is the fact that a lot of the sites don’t offer a non-Flash fallback, but the issue there is not with mobile development, but rather with accessibility in general.

The page is admittedly very tongue in cheek, but I don’t think agencies not building mobile optimised sites is really grounds for publicly calling them out… or is that just me?

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Hi there, I’m Harry Roberts. I am an award-winning Consultant Web Performance Engineer, designer, developer, writer, and speaker from the UK. I write, Tweet, speak, and share code about measuring and improving site-speed. You should hire me.

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