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I'm designing a mobile interface for a website. Somewhere on it, I want to put a link to the full desktop site, as some users may prefer this (I know my Nexus 7 usually gets sent mobile sites, but I prefer the desktop versions most of the time).

The question then is where to put the link. Both locations seem to be used frequently. I can have it at the top:

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

  • Easy to see
  • User wastes no time finding link
  • Takes up space - less content will fit on

Or at the bottom:

mockup

download bmml source

  • Out of the way - doesn't disrupt content on first page
  • Not immediately visible
  • User might have to scroll through a long page to get to it

Is there any research into which is better, or any data?

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+1 for calling it "Desktop Site" instead of "Full Site", implying the mobile version has limited functionality (which is a bad practice, IMO) –  JeroenEijkhof Jul 30 '12 at 21:10
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@jeroen cough stackexchange cough. They're mostly good, which makes the omissions in the the mobile ui all the more annoying. –  fredley Jul 30 '12 at 23:06
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3 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

What about doing both in the form of a toast notification?

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

After the element falls back down or is dismissed, it can be found in the site footer (putting this link in the footer is a very common pattern). You get the advantage of discoverability but without the difficulties of aligning and designing a non-obtrusive top-page link.

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Why invest money in a mobile version if you are encouraging the users not to use it? I think this type of pop-up distracts from the current page the user is on. To me this communicates a disbelief in the mobile so much that I am assuming the mobile version is bad. Most users are used to going to the bottom, if they want it let em scroll ;) –  JeroenEijkhof Jul 30 '12 at 20:55
    
@JeroenEijkhof - you raise a good point; I suppose it is a bit strange to invite users to move away from the mobile service. The only real use case I can think of is when there's content on the desktop version that doesn't exist on mobile, in which case, it's best discovered at the end of navigation or the bottom of the page. Still, this sort of toast notification could work well on the desktop site for inviting mobile users to try out a specialized app. –  Jimmy Breck-McKye Jul 30 '12 at 21:05
    
Yea in the desktop version it would work nicely. I posted a comprise answer just now where the top level "Desktop version" link is actually inside a menu dropdown (which often exists). It also points out the fact that we design sites that 90-95% of the time have limited functionality. I have been trying to move away from that actually. –  JeroenEijkhof Jul 30 '12 at 21:08
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In addition to @JeroenEijkhof's excellent point, I would argue that those toasts would get annoying pretty quickly. I also think it's a non-trivial problem to develop the smarts that would correctly pick when/how often to display that toast while preserving both its usefulness and the discoverability of the feature. In the end, developing a good, feature-complete mobile site would be a far more effective use of time, in my opinion. –  Phong Aug 1 '12 at 18:15
    
@Phong - yeah, you'd probably only show the toast once every thirty days / store a cookie saying 'never show it me again'. –  Jimmy Breck-McKye Aug 1 '12 at 18:32
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In a similar project, we put a link at the top and at the bottom, combining both of your examples. Obviously the top link was clicked most. About 70/30, but that's not surprising. No matter what method you choose, ensure to repeat this strategy on the desktop site. Put an easy to find link to the mobile site -- so people who prefer the mobile site can get there easily.

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Why did you put the link at the top? –  JeroenEijkhof Jul 30 '12 at 20:56
    
We had a stakeholder that was unconvinced that users were getting everything they needed from the mobile site. This same person pushed for the link at the top of the page. So of course it got more clicks, but those clicks likely lead to a less than ideal browsing experience. I agree with your point that investing in mobile, just to further invest effort in a strategy to get them back to the desktop site, is counter-productive. –  drawtheweb Jul 30 '12 at 21:07
    
Stakeholder, don't you just love em'? –  JeroenEijkhof Jul 31 '12 at 17:57
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If you want to, it could be accessible from the top. As long as it also exists at the bottom. Just don't encourage people to leave your mobile site, if you do then there is no reason to invest in a mobile site.

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

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Can you provide some reasons for including the message at both the top and bottom? –  Jimmy Breck-McKye Jul 30 '12 at 21:07
    
No, this was just a comprise since the OP seemed to want one there. I guess it was a reaction from me as if the OP was a client "Ok you can have it at the top, but not visible at first glance. Because your paying us money for a mobile version" –  JeroenEijkhof Jul 30 '12 at 21:12
    
Rephrased my answer to reflect better –  JeroenEijkhof Jul 30 '12 at 21:13
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