The presentation of online content is routinely adapted to the smaller screens of mobile devices by implementing an information architecture (IA) that hierarchically restructures the information being presented to users, in conjunction with layout and size adaptations. Despite the understanding that users of mobile devices are likely to experience lower usability and higher load without such adaptations, a recent trend is to offer these users the ability to opt out of content adaptation and revert to a desktop view.
In two experiments in which users are asked to make an online hotel reservation, we show that a desktop view may benefit mobile users by increasing the accuracy of their decisions. From a practical standpoint, the findings suggest that the increasing availability of the option to switch to a desktop view on mobile devices is a positive evolution that should be encouraged, particularly in situations in which users may be highly sensitive to the quality of their decisions. This study addresses the prices that mobile users pay for the convenience of content adaptation, demonstrating that an adaptation technique designed to benefit mobile users may paradoxically impair their ability to make accurate decisions.
Fink, L., & Papismedov, D. (2022). On the same page? What users benefit from a desktop view on mobile devices. Information Systems Research. doi:10.1287/isre.2022.1140