Design standards on the Web are constantly evolving, and the Mobile Web is no exception. We’re currently smack-dab in the middle of the Web App age, with users expecting their mobile browser-based services to provide a rich visual experience closer to that of a native application than the ultra lightweight (and generally ugly), text-centric pages of yesteryear. Looking to embrace this change, MySpace will soon debut a new version of its mobile site (m.myspace.com) whilst simultaneously announcing support for S60 and webOS, the platform set to launch with Palm’s much-lauded Pre.
MySpace anticipates 50% of their total traffic to come from mobiles within the next few years, so a refresh of the mobile site makes a lot of sense. The new layout (see mockup below) takes a bunch of design cues from the native MySpace applications – especially the Android app. A number of navigational items have been converted from text to icons, with sub-navigation items losing the old fashioned numbers for icons as well.
Beyond being for the sake of modernity, the new look should help dramatically with enhancing the brand’s identity in the mobile space. Note the use of MySpace’s signature blue in the header and footer, something which was curiously absent in the previous design.
For all the curious scalability geeks out there: John Faith, MySpace’s General Manager and VP of Mobile Operations, tells me that this is as much an architectural change as it is visual. They’ve moved away from XML/XSLT transformations and towards a MVC (model-view-controller) architecture, with significant leverage of Microsoft’s ASP.NET. If all the acronyms are hurting your brain, this is essentially just a fancy way of saying MySpace Mobile’s servers should now be able to handle a good amount more without things getting shaky.
While no specific timing has been set for the new site’s launch, we’re told that we’ll probably see it go live sometime around Chris DeWolfe’s Mobile World Congress keynote on Thursday.
As previously mentioned, MySpace is also announcing plans to support Symbian S60 and Palm’s webOS when it debuts with the Pre later this year. Combine these coming additions with the support already in place for Android, BlackBerry OS, Sidekick OS and the iPhone, and MySpace supports just about every major smartphone platform besides Windows Mobile. When we asked about Windows Mobile, Myspace responded by saying “it has great relationships with everyone and wants to be everywhere”. Our sources close to both companies say Myspace and Microsoft have been in talks for awhile, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see them knock that last one off the list before too long.
Random tidbits gleaned from our discussions with MySpace: