Mobile Experiences in Online Communities
The present approach to community mobile sites is to reduce the quantity of information being revealed to a few key points.
Therefore we go from a traditional community site to something that simplifies the images completely.
Backyard Chickens regular site above.
This becomes the mobile site shown below:
Clearly this is better than sending members to a full-site on a tiny screen. I suspect it doesn't go far enough.
I'd look to create a tinder-like experience /p>
Here users can quickly swipe to the left (if they don't like) or right (if they like the individual).
You can apply the same principle. Users can swipe to the left to move to the next discussion (or profile), or right if they want to add a comment to the discussion (or connect with a member).
The benefits are three fold.
1) A member can quickly scan through lots of things until they find something they want to participate in. They don't need to study a tiny screen.
2) It's a more fun experience. People can easily dip in and out. It doesn't require you to study everything that's happening in the community. It augments your existing activity.
3) It's an addictive experience. It uses the principle of variable rewards. Similar to checking your e-mail. Sometimes it might be a terrific discussion you want to participate in. Sometimes it might be a waste of time so you swipe to the left.
Mobile user experiences are new and exciting. I don't think the answer is simply to have a smaller, narrower, and longer version of existing sites.
The answer is to create a fun, breezy, experience for people on the move.