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fifteendays
07-23-2009, 12:56 PM
Hello everyone,

Mount Washington Observatory is entering a whole new world with the pre-launch of a web site for mobile devices... and we are soliciting your feedback on layout and content. Please let us know how the site works on your mobile device, and what other content you would like to see available.

The mobile site (beta) is available at http://www.mountwashington.org/mobile/. We realize that typing in that long URL will tire your fingers (or thumbs) out, and so we have setup a shortcut at http://m.mwobs.org which will redirect you. These addresses are subject to change, but if they do, we will provide advance notice or automatic redirection. Once officially launched, a link will be placed on the main web site as well.

Consider this a preview for our active community members to enjoy as they hike up on Saturday for Seek the Peak. Just be sure to watch where you're hiking!

Thanks to the Zakon Group (http://www.zakongroup.com) for their work on the site!

My best,
Scot Henley
MWO Executive Director

Bill O
07-23-2009, 05:35 PM
I just took a quick look on my iPhone, very nice. I like being able to see all the cams easily on one screen. Easy access to the observer comments is nice as well.

Brad
07-23-2009, 06:21 PM
I will go out tomorrow and find a cell signal to try it out with my Window Mobile based phone. No cell service here at home.

chipsterva69
07-23-2009, 09:12 PM
I am not sure if it is an issue on your end or not, but my older Blackberry has been pulling data down for 15 minutes so far and still has not rendered a page. Granted - it is an older Curve, which is probably the issue, but not everyone will be on a 3G network. CAn't wait to see it when it does finally come together though!

Bill O
07-23-2009, 09:22 PM
I had no problem rendering pages, but I was on an iPhone 3G. Even so, the pages don't appear to be huge data hogs.

Fully refined this will be great. Anyone who has an iPhone quickly learns that it can replace their computer for many tasks. Even though iPhones can render full internet pages, a mobile site can be much more convenient.

hobbes
07-23-2009, 09:25 PM
I am not sure if it is an issue on your end or not, but my older Blackberry has been pulling data down for 15 minutes so far and still has not rendered a page. Granted - it is an older Curve, which is probably the issue, but not everyone will be on a 3G network. CAn't wait to see it when it does finally come together though!Chip - Try going directly to www.mountwashington.org/mobile/ and see if that helps. The page is pretty streamlined. One person that had an issue turned out to be because they weren't getting any data services; please make sure you can browse to other sites (not just cached pages). If you're still running into an issue, please post your BB model.

JimS
07-23-2009, 10:50 PM
Oh wow...I never got around to suggesting that here, but it was really necessary, as scrolling through all the menus to get to the forecast in the backcountry was painfull.

This will be a HUGE service to the backcountry community!

Brad
07-24-2009, 07:41 AM
I went to Dunkin Donuts - to find a signal - and barely saw one. I am using a Blackjack II on AT&T which is a 3G phone but the connection here was very slow. I went to the m.mwobs.org URL and was redirected fine.

A question for other folks - do they like the links to other pages at the bottom or the top? On most pages being at the bottom was not an issue since the pages were nice and simple. However, the Observer Comments page was a lot bigger and therefore being able to scroll down to the links took quite a while. Yes, I could have stopped the page and gone back to the prior one. But, that is not always the best approach.

The dial to the weather number worked fine - which was very cool.

On the Observer Comments page - is there such a thing as RSS on cell phones now? For me, I would remove the RSS icon. But, I do not know what Blackberries and iPhones can do.

The links abbreviate too much. "WX Phone Line" means something to us. But, for many people it has no meaning. Spell out "Weather".

The same with "MWV" - I would use "MW Valley" to be clearer. On my screen it could be even spelled out completely - "Mt. Washington Valley" and easily fit.

Having the Backcountry page would be excellent.

Could the Conditions image be included?

I did not try it but - when viewing a web camera image, can you click on it to see the full still image? An example would be http://www.mountwashington.org/weather/cam/deck/deck.jpg which I go to on my phone all the time. I have all the web camera images and the Conditions image bookmarked. Show the small thumbnails, which is great. But, have the ability to click on an image and get the full screen version.

Now to the MAJOR problem with the site. The forecast for Saturday is not good. That must be fixed by early tomorrow morning. I know there is not much time to get it right. But, I heard you folks were good and could do anything. So, chop chop - get to it - please.

hobbes
07-24-2009, 08:54 AM
There are still quite a few phones out there with < 240 pixel width which is why some of the links were abbreviated. The trend is definitely moving towards a minimum 240 width, and as we see what kind of devices are being used, we'll make improvements to the site.

Re. RSS, I believe Google Reader has a mobile version. Other services are probably also available.

The conditions image is rather large which is why it did not get included. If people would like it though we can probably add it. You would probably have to use the zoom/pan functions to look at it.

Backcountry will likely get added later this year once the page starts getting its data feed for winter.

When you click on the cam images you will see the medium size image. This is done as a compromise for those who want to see a larger image, but who pay for their data usage. The full size image is often triple the KB of the medium image. There may be some options for customizing this in the future if folks want.

As for the weather, let us know your cell phone's browser signature and we'll set you up with any weather you like.

Keep the feedback coming!

chipsterva69
07-24-2009, 09:26 AM
Chip - Try going directly to www.mountwashington.org/mobile/ and see if that helps. The page is pretty streamlined. One person that had an issue turned out to be because they weren't getting any data services; please make sure you can browse to other sites (not just cached pages). If you're still running into an issue, please post your BB model.

Tried again from work and success!! I did try the redirect link from history, and that crashed (caching issue, I suspect). Typed in the /mobile/ address and it pulled up in no time flat. Great work! MWOBS to go - sweet!

FWIW - my Blackberry is an 8700c on the AT&T network.

JimS
07-24-2009, 09:50 AM
just gave it a twice over...

I like the idea of the backcountry page link...

But would also love to see the metar text on the homepage as well, perhaps down the bottom. This is my one go to piece of information I look for when in my tent at 5AM trying to decide if the summits are clear for sunrise...

Is it too much extra page size to include the text of this?!?!
ZCZC PWMMTRMWN TTAA00 KGYX 241251 METAR KMWN 241251Z 09022KT 1/16SM -RA FG VV000 07/07 RMK NNNN

Brad
07-24-2009, 12:50 PM
just gave it a twice over...

I like the idea of the backcountry page link...

But would also love to see the metar text on the homepage as well, perhaps down the bottom. This is my one go to piece of information I look for when in my tent at 5AM trying to decide if the summits are clear for sunrise...

Is it too much extra page size to include the text of this?!?!
ZCZC PWMMTRMWN TTAA00 KGYX 241251 METAR KMWN 241251Z 09022KT 1/16SM -RA FG VV000 07/07 RMK NNNN
To me it is not a big deal to add it at the bottom of the page. I just don't know how to read it.

Bill O
07-24-2009, 01:32 PM
I'd actually like the METAR as well. It is confusing to most people, but it provides a wealth of information if you know how to read it. All the key weather onto one screen would be great, including the METAR.

I'm guessing there are some guidelines to creating mobile web pages. Page width, size, etc. I'd be designing for the future though, smartphones. Not the few people who browse on their Motorola RAZRs, which is painful no matter what.

Turd Ferguson
07-24-2009, 05:02 PM
Is it too much extra page size to include the text of this?!?!
ZCZC PWMMTRMWN TTAA00 KGYX 241251 METAR KMWN 241251Z 09022KT 1/16SM -RA FG VV000 07/07 RMK NNNN



Well, you certainly don't need to display the ZCZC PWMMTRMWN TTAA00 KGYX 241251 part in the report and that would make it much shorter...until the RMK's start flyin:D Always wondered why that part is displayed on the weather page. All the useful stuff starts at METAR...which you are well aware of.

Snow Miser
07-26-2009, 11:52 AM
Just tried the mobile site on my Treo 700p Verizon 3G using the dinosaur Blazer browser and it works great.

A couple of things I'd like to see are:
- a "Home" icon at the bottom of each page
- "Previous" and "Next" icons in the comments page. Also, a way to go to previous month's comments similar to the full site
- a link for the photo journal on the home page with expandable thumbnails. Also, a way to go to previous month's photo journal similar to the full site

As mentioned above, designing for the near future where most will have iPhones, Palm Pre's, etc. would be good.

Great mobile site!!! Many thanks.

Brad
07-26-2009, 07:04 PM
As I drove to STP '09 I used the mobile site and it was great. The one thing I found "missing" was a link on each page back to the home or starting page.

Bill O
07-26-2009, 08:00 PM
As I drove to STP '09 I used the mobile site and it was great. The one thing I found "missing" was a link on each page back to the home or starting page.

There is, click on the logo at the top of the screen.

Brad
07-26-2009, 09:35 PM
There is, click on the logo at the top of the screen.
Yes, that does work. But, it not obvious as just a link with the others would be.

lyonsk
08-01-2009, 07:27 AM
This is soooo sweet.. now I have mobile webs of the gem of the east... cant wait for that on the spot view. Next best step to being there...:cool:

hobbes
08-31-2009, 12:07 PM
Some of the requested features have been added to the mobile site:

- METAR (link under home page conditions)
- Summit Conditions graphic (link under home page conditions)
- Browse prior observer comments (click << next to date)
- Photo Journal (click arrow next to image to flip through them)

As always, feedback is welcome. And just a reminder that the mobile site is "beta", thus features are subject to change.

Enjoy!

Snow Miser
08-31-2009, 12:38 PM
Just tried each feature on my Treo 700p and they all work great. Thanks!

Will there possibly be a feature in the future to browse the comments and journal photos in prior months? Or will we just use the full site for that?

hobbes
08-31-2009, 06:09 PM
For now, as long as you're willing to keep clicking the "previous" arrow in the mobile Photo Journal & Obs Comments pages, you can browse prior months.

whitemtnvisitor
09-01-2009, 08:41 AM
I don't know if I missed it or not in the previous posts, but one thing that I would think to be critical in a mobile app is a home page "quick link" to real time local radar. I think that one of the best "safety features" of this technology could be to track any precipitation that may help you decide your course of action. Anyone who has gone hiking on MW has seen people with no packs, rain gear, warm clothing or basic necessities while bad weather was moving into the area. I'm thinking that most of the people who do go out unprepared, may still carry a smart phone with them. There are probably some other simple tools that could be located on the homepage such as a GPS map or some other "quick link" that could help a casual or even a more seasoned hiker make informed decisions.

Bill O
09-01-2009, 09:56 PM
Radar is a product solely created by the NWS, not by MWO. Anybody can redistribute and even sell it, but many other people already have dedicated sites and apps for that. "Real-time" radar is something different, none of it is free and if it is the quality sucks. Again, there are many good radar apps out there, including a pay app for the iPhone that provides excellent real-time data with detail. It's a one time fee of $10 for the program.

I noticed the photo journal has been added. That's a great feature. On my iphone it took some time before I realized you could scroll through the photos. The arrow is a little hard to see and tricky to use at first. Very nice regardless.

whitemtnvisitor
09-02-2009, 08:36 AM
I realize that there are dedicated sites out there for radar. I keep several on my iphone. What I'm saying is there should be a link available for someone who may not have any radar apps loaded. My point is that if they are creating a mobile app, then one of the best things about it should be as an aid to anyone on the mountain. As I stated earlier, there are a lot of people who go on the mountain unprepared. The one thing that they probably do remember to bring with them is their phone. With all the smartphone capabilities & with so many now carrying them, it could be a lifesaver and/or save rescue for having to go out if the person could help themselves.

Snow Miser
09-02-2009, 10:44 AM
I think it's a great idea to have a radar link on the mobile site. Mt Washington could be at the center of the display, if that's possible. I too have links to radar sites on my Treo that work pretty darn good, but to have one with the White Mountains available right from the mobile site would be convenient. Zoom and animate options would be even better. Of course all this depends on whether data service is available to a users location. I'm on Verizon and I usually can't get any data service in the mountains.

Brad
09-23-2009, 07:37 AM
The mobile site right now says

Conditions on Wednesday 7:30 AM:
Temp: 51.6?F (10.9?C)
Wind: W (276?) @ 31.6 mph (50.9 kph)
Gust:
Wind Chill: (-17.8?C)

But, the wind chill data does not seem right.

hobbes
09-23-2009, 08:21 AM
Looks like there is an issue with the data feed from the summit. I've reported it.