Mobile view (touch-optimized mode)

Hello there.

So diaspora web app basically provides two user interfaces - the main one and so-called “mobile”, aka touch screen optimized.

Do we know if there are actual active users of that mobile mode?

It cannot be discovered easily, on the desktop view the switch is on the bottom of the page, while our main pages like streams are bottom-less.

Maintaining two UIs multiplies the effort of building features, requiring building two implementations for every change.

Having two versions of front-end made more sense 10 years ago, because fast mobile internet was less accessible and building responsive JS front-ends was harder than today.

I’m sure that there are still places with slow mobile internet connection, but do we have anyone who is actually using diaspora that way and benefits from our mobile UI?

Our resources are scarce so reducing the amount of things we need to maintain may simplify things for us.

Maybe we could run some kind of survey to determine if there is still any interest in this touch optimized front-end?

I do not know how many users use the mobile version, but I use it daily.
If Diaspora would have just one - mobile ready-
Interface I would appreciate it.

On my mobile I have installed a button for that PWA.


Which “mobile” mode are you talking about? Because, there kinda are two. There is the actual “mobile” interface, but then there’s also the Desktop version, which also works relatively fine on smartphones just by the virtues of responsive design. I’ll assume you’re talking about the actual mobile view.

While we don’t know (lack of telemetry yaddayadda), diaspora* uses the mobile-fu gem to detect mobile browsers based on their User Agent, and default them to the mobile view. So yes, there are a lot of users on that one, probably.

Now, as you say, that decision was made in the 2010s, and it was the only really good option. Primary use-cases included serving a different image resolution to mobile users (remember, this was created before srcset was a widely available thing). These days, it would make sense to rip the mobile version out completely, and only rely on the responsive design of the desktop version. The dedicated mobile version adds a lot of complexity, and there isn’t a need for it anymore.

That being said, a lot of work would have to go into testing the responsive design mode, making sure that all features are actually accessible and usable, and there probably would be a lot of optimizations that would have to be made.


As @denschub already wrote, the mobile UI is the default when you use diaspora on a mobile browser, so I think the majority of mobile users use it, but I have no idea how many people use diaspora on their phone compared to on the people that use diaspora on the PC (I almost never use it on the phone, so I also don’t use the mobile UI).

The link to it is either in the left sidebar on the streams pages (if you have a wide enough screen) or in the header menu (if you are on a small screen, like a phone), so it can be found if you want to switch back to it. But as said, it’s at the moment the default, so most people probably don’t even switch away from it.

While the slow internet (and slow phones) problem probably isn’t that big of a problem anymore, the current mobile frontend is also better for when using touch, that’s why we don’t call it “mobile and desktop” mode anymore, we call the one “touch optimized”, because buttons for “like” and “reshare” are bigger and better for touching with a finger, then the small links that are on the standard UI.

But I agree, the two frontends were a decision from many years ago and not up-to-date anymore nowadays. So if we work on a new frontend, we should have the goal to only need one frontend that works well for both use-cases, so we don’t need two completely different frontends anymore. Some new feature maybe still need some special CSS for mobile to make it work better for small screens and touch, but that’s a lot less work than having a completely separate frontend.