If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That’s been the philosophy of Daily Mail, which flouted convention when it took its desktop homepage to the mobile Web. The result: a pinch-and-zoom heavy browsing experience more at home on publishers’ sites circa 2008, not 2015.
But in recent months, Daily Mail has softened its position. Now, readers who visit the site on mobile are offered the option to land on the site’s “classic” homepage or on its “mobile news” and “mobile showbiz” pages, which are optimized for mobile screens. Daily Mail got 48 million unique visitors in September, 64 percent of whom visit the site solely on mobile devices, according to comScore.
Daily Mail executives were not available to comment, but a company rep said the idea was to “give readers choice about how they wanted to experience the site.”
Turns out, Daily Mail readers aren’t keen on change. Around 75 percent of mobile readers still opt to browse the site’s desktop homepage, while 18 percent head to the news page. The rest opt for the celebrity news page.
Daily Mail also bucks industry trends in that over half of its visitors in the U.K. and around 40 percent in the U.S. still visit its homepage directly. The homepage might be dead for most publishers, but it’s not dead at Daily Mail.
Although those numbers might confound designers who espouse the wonders of responsive design, they show that when it comes to design, there’s no one size-fits-all strategy. The likes of The Drudge Report and Craigslist may not be easy on the eyes, but they’ve still managed to become two of the biggest sites on the Web.
“Mail Online’s homepage is a key part of its heritage and identity. Our users love it,” Hannah Buitekant, Mail Online’s mobile director, told Digiday in March.