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Google Hides Layout, JavaScript from Game Console Browsers

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In ancient times (September, 2012), Anna Debenham tested websites in game console browsers, found the experience wanting, and advised people who make websites to use progressive enhancement, design with mobile in mind, and optimize for performance. That’s good advice whether folks use game consoles to access your website or not.

In a follow-up article of sorts last month (Google and the 3DS Browser), Anna found that Google doesn’t trust designers and developers to do the right thing. She discovered that when a 3DS browser user looks up a website on Google’s search engine, Google’s link takes the user to a dumbed-down version of the page:

So Google is applying its own layout-free CSS template and disabling Javascript on the whole web for 3DS browsers coming through its search engine.

Her guess (and ours) is that Google is trying to be helpful by simplifying complex websites for users of less than stellar browsers and devices. If you’re using a 3DS browser and want to access an actual web page, not a dumbed-down subset version, you need to type the page’s URL into your 3DS and avoid Google’s search engine like the plague.

Intrigued by Anna’s posts, and by her screenshots of the old (2005–2012) A List Apart design in the old (2012) 3DS, A List Apart designer Mike Pick ran the responsive 2013 layout of the magazine through the new 3DS (http://monkeydo.biz/blog/ala-on-the-3ds):

Looks pretty nice, aside from some odd glitches in italic text. Notable: the default sans font includes a numero glyph.

As noted in the original post of course, you don’t get to see the nice responsive design if you arrive via Google.

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