Bad Wii Design

December 30th, 2006

Update: I wasn’t really able to test this until now, but it looks like both media=”tv” and media=”handheld” (for when you press the “2” button) aren’t implemented. Like most beta software, there’s flaws. Hopefully this will be implemented in the future.

I’ve seen some WordPress plugins lately that change how WordPress looks if the user is accessing it with a Nintendo DS or the Wii’s Internet Channel.

Stop it. Stop it right now.

While I can’t really speak for the DS browser, if you wanted your site to be easily viewable on the Wii then use the features that are out there specifically for that purpose. CSS stylesheets can be loaded based on what’s displaying the website, and wouldn’t you know it? There’s a type specifically for televisions. It’s crazy enough to work.

<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="/css/special-tv-stylesheet.css" media="tv" />

Besides the fact that it’s the easier way, it also doesn’t use user agents improperly. By changing the site when the user agent has a “Wii” in it you’re assuming that people actually want it to be changed. I sure don’t. The Internet was never meant to be customized for Wii users, it’s already prepared for that. It’s not even a real way to detect Wii users either, it’s just a hack. I already went over this a few weeks ago, but relying on user agents is almost always poor web design. You’re also completely forgetting other lower-resolution devices that could use the attention as well.

3 Responses to “Bad Wii Design”

  1. David Harper Says:

    …your tone suggests developers that use user agents are the minions of the devil. 🙂

    In the case of the Wii with an Opera browser the only way to tell if the visitor is on a TV is by checking the User-agent and providing a Wii-optimized CSS based on that. From our testing media=”tv” didn’t cut it. Besides what about PSP, Sony mylo’s, DS/DS Lite – all these devices require differing templates to optimize the experience.

    This is also the case in mobile devices where bloggers feel meda=”handheld” works. Let me tell you – that doesn’t work across all mobile devices either. Not to mention the diversity of multimedia support across devices and mobile browsers – user agent detection not only provides the information you need to deliver the best set of CSS templates but also the info you need to deliver media that’s digestable for that particular device.

    …besides it’s up to the blog owner to decide for themselves if they want to provide this type of experience or not.

    ..and the Internet/Mobile Internet is customized for people all the time for good reason.

    Listen – I respect your opinions you have every right to have them. From my perspective though handheld devices have a different set of circumstances then PCs that you need to take into account. You should remain open to that.

    I am also a standards-based web developer that agrees with the goal of “Viewable With Any Browser”. I also encourage other developers to design webpages according to official standards, with the goal of not designing for any particular browser(s). I also accept that this isn’t always best – specifically in the case of devices with limited capabilities, processing powers, mulitmedia support or physical dimensions.

    I agree with most of the frustration you expressed here: http://blog.brokenfunction.com/2006/12/18/user-agents-and-you/) but IMHO you have focused on the wrong cause to champion.

    I’d be happy to discuss this further with you. Send me an email and we can set up a time to chat. It might be good for both of us.

    Cheers and have a Happy New Year,
    David Harper

  2. David Harper Says:

    ..meant to write “user-agent strings” strings throughout not “user-agent.”

  3. David Harper Says:

    You might find this useful from a mobile/handheld development perspective: http://www.passani.it/gap/

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