It’s been five days since the latest Drudge Report app was released, and fallout continues to collect in the form of disaffected fans who say the update fails to deliver even a readable version of the website. As of tonight, 286 users have slammed The Drudge Report – Version 5.0.2 in the iTunes store, nearly all of them rating the app only one out of five stars.
So far, there are no new updates on offer after 5.0.2.
I emailed the Drudge Report several days ago with several questions, and have not yet heard back from anyone. Granted, it was a public email, so Drudge and the team no doubt field a large volume of messages. However, I have sent another message tonight in hopes that my questions will be seen and responded to by Matt Drudge or an associate.
One thing I believe Drudge could do is simply to draw more attention to his mobile version website. Currently, if an iPhone user visits http://www.drudgereport.com using the Safari browser, the user is not automatically redirected to a mobile version of the page at http://www.idrudgereport.com. There’s a tremendous difference between the pinching and scrolling required required to read headlines on the desktop version of the site with a smartphone, and using the relatively smooth, user-friendly mobile version. In fact, right now, idrudgerport.com is vastly superior to 5.0.2.
Major news sites typically use what web developers call “responsive web design,” allowing users to access access the site from various devices (desktop, tablet, smartphone) with equal clarity and ease. A simpler technique is to build a stand alone companion site for mobile users and automatically redirect readers there. A third, even more basic way to go is to build a companion site or even a site within a site, and let users click a button on the desktop homepage to let users go to the mobile version if they desire (no automatic rerouting required).
The Drudge Report doesn’t utilize the first strategy (a responsive site), but should be able to incorporate the second or third strategy without a terrible amount of effort and expense. Unless and until Drudge puts out a good mobile app, smoothly escorting phone and tablet readers to a mobile-optimized experience is the only decent thing to do.