Monday, December 24, 2012

Blog Readers Report Comments, Supposedly Published Using A Mobile Computer, Appear To Disappear

Recently, we've been seeing a few problem reports in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, mentioning problems publishing comments on Blogger blogs, when using mobile computers.
My readers tell me that they can't comment on my blog, using an iPad. Comments disappear, when they try to publish them.
As with a previously explored problem with comments on a non mobile computer, this problem may involve unfamiliarity with the publishing sequence.

The dialogue involved in publishing a comment, when using a desktop computer with a full size display and a non mobile Blogger template, is not simple. Depending upon the various commenting options selected by the owner, the publishing sequence may be even more complex. Blog owners may need to consider the additional details involved in comment publishing, when using a mobile computer.

Using Blogger on a mobile computer involves various compromises - and the comment publishing process on a mobile computer even more compromises.
  • The small display size, on a mobile computer, makes finding the various controls involved a challenge. Both the small size of everything involved, and the necessity of repeatedly scrolling around the screen, looking for the controls used in comment publishing, is frustrating.
  • The "mobile template" is an attempt to make up for the small display size. The mobile template puts the various controls on a series of displays, with various buttons and links used to move from display to display.

People unaccustomed to the sequence of steps involved in the comment publishing process may not see all of the controls required, when using a mobile computer. Neither the wide non mobile template, nor the deep mobile template, displays the comment publishing sequence easily. People who are not very experienced with the comment publishing process, in general, might become confused with the displays.

As an example, let's look at the basic comment entry dialogue. So simple - when you are used to it, and can see all of the components.
  • On a desktop / full function display, you'll see an entry box, and a "Publish" button beneath the box. You use the keyboard and / or mouse to enter text into the box, then click on the "Publish" button.
  • When the required display space is larger than the physical screen space, you'll have a horizontal and / or vertical scroll bar, indicating that scrolling is required, to locate other display content. You'll use the mouse to manipulate the scroll bars, and make other portions of the display visible.
  • A mobile display will have an entry box, and an on screen keyboard. The onscreen keyboard will occupy a fixed amount of display space, with the entry box occupying the available remainder.
  • The mobile display won't have scroll bars - if other portions of the display are not immediately visible, you'll use your finger to scroll around the screen. If you are not familiar with screen layout, you'll have to scroll around, aimlessly.
  • The "Publish" button will be somewhere near the entry box - but depending upon screen size and orientation, may not be immediately visible. You may have to scroll around the screen to find the "Publish" button.
  • People not used to using a mobile computer may be unable to find the "Publish" button. Finding other display content that may appear to replace the "Publish" button, they may be confused when their comments are not published, and report that their comments disappeared.

Both the authentication sequence (when authentication is required), and the CAPTCHA entry sequence (when a CAPTCHA is involved), when involved in mobile computing commenting, will make the comment publishing process even more complicated. The authentication sequence may be more complex, if the browser in use has a problem with Blogger authentication - and "third party" cookies.

Since most blogs are designed primarily for non mobile computer use, commenting using mobile computers may not be obvious, for a while. Many readers may simply not publish comments, to the same activity level, when using their mobile computers.

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1 comment:

Natasha said...

This is a ridiculous answer. I know how to post comments. When I hit "Publish" on my iPad the comment disappears and never shows up anywhere on my Blogger account as needing to be moderated. The comment literally goes nowhere. (I am testing this out from my iPad and trying to publish a comment on my own blog.)