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Let's say we have a marketing website for a large enterprise app. There's also a link to a demo where you can try the app. The app itself is designed for full-size browser only, but the marketing website is responsive and will often be viewed from a mobile device.

On the desktop version of the site we can have a button that leads directly to the demo. But if someone presses it on a mobile device, they will arrive at an unusable page. So we need some way to provide a smooth transition for the user from the mobile device to a desktop site, a process that begins on the smartphone and ends on the pc. How can this be done?

  • From a programming perspective, if you wrap the page in <div style="min-width:1024px"><!-- code here --></div> it will force the mobile browser to scale out. Although, it would be better to actually address the problem itself than use this hack. – Tyzoid Aug 13 '14 at 13:46
  • Is the main site broken on a mobile device? If not, let them go to it. – DA01 Aug 14 '14 at 5:06
  • @DA01 See the comment I left to Alexej Froehlich. – Vitaly Mijiritsky Aug 14 '14 at 5:28
  • @VitalyMijiritsky but is it broken? Whether it is appropriate or not is one thing. But if it works, there's no reason to not let people view it if they desire to do so on their mobile device. If it's broken, then you're going to have to somehow convince them to visit your site again from a different device. To do that you may have to rely on email notification or the like. But there's a risk there...if they are already engaged via a mobile device, you really want to try and do everything you can from that particular device. – DA01 Aug 14 '14 at 5:37
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    @VitalyMijiritsky unfortunately, at that point, I don't think there is any good way to handle this. The email suggestion is the best that I can come up with so would agree with that answer. Alas, it's far from ideal in that you'll likely have a rather large drop off of users getting from mobile to the actual desktop demo. – DA01 Aug 14 '14 at 5:45
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I've thought about this a lot before, and I suggest actually using a quick form, and present it as a "email this to me so I can demo later" type of situation. Of course, witty, super brief copy helps and a perfectly crisp UX as well. This way, you cannot only collect some basic sales data (with consent, of course), but you also perform a neat little action that's as simple as a separate MailChimp list. :)

Make sure the resulting email is a sort of super stripped down, "here's a quick email from a friend via gmail," type of notification with a call to action to the demo for when they're back at their laptop/desktop.

  • Welcome to UX.SE Lara! That's the best solution that I've come up with, too. – Vitaly Mijiritsky Aug 14 '14 at 5:24
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    I think this is likely the most pragmatic solution. Alas, there's still the issue of the mobile person then checking their email via their mobile device (which I often do) so now said email is marked 'read' and will likely be ignored next time I log in via a desktop. – DA01 Aug 14 '14 at 5:40
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Make your app completely responsive, so they can use it on their mobile

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Ok ok, I'm just kidding :-) But here's a serious idea: Probably your app has a consumer benefit that you could make responsive so at least this one would look nice on a mobile. Together with an invitation to the user to check the app again on a desktop pc. Explain her that she get all the others awesome solutions which are just not awesome on a mobile phone... You could emphesize it with a sort of "send me an e-mail to remind me checking the app on my desktop" feature.

  • The demo is for the full version of the app. Its nature is not appropriate for a mobile device, and adjusting it to a mobile device is meaningless. The question is how to redirect people who view the mobile version of the marketing website to the demo. – Vitaly Mijiritsky Aug 14 '14 at 5:20
  • Context is everything, of course, and we don't know anything about this app, but in general to say 'adjusting it to a mobile device is meaningless' is a difficult thing for most UX folks to accept at face value. Can you provide us with any more details to provide a bit of context? – DA01 Aug 14 '14 at 5:38
  • It's a heavy-duty IT management work tool... Imagine adjusting Visual Studio to a mobile device :). – Vitaly Mijiritsky Aug 14 '14 at 5:45
  • Well, if it's an IT management tool, then at least your audience should be aware of that on mobiles it's meaningless to try it out. That makes it easier to say it to them and also in general you can expect their understanding... If you go for the e-mail solution, take special care of the headline. It should be obvious, that this mail is for checking on desktop so they don't read it on their mobile and forget about it when on desktop. What may work I really don't know so I suggest heavy headline testing on this. – Alexej Froehlich Aug 14 '14 at 7:12
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Determine the breakpoint or page width where the experience breaks down in the app. On the marketing site, you can change your message to encourage people viewing at smaller widths to go to a desktop first, with maybe a way to email a link to themselves. You could also not change the marketing site, but instead do a similar thing in the app (show a message when the width is too small). It helps if you can add a little humor to the message.

  • The experience doesn't break down anywhere, it's meaningless to have this app on a mobile device to begin with. – Vitaly Mijiritsky Aug 14 '14 at 5:25

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