Just in: a beautiful new mobile experience

Just in: a beautiful new mobile experience

We promised this a while ago, and now we deliver: our beautiful new mobile experience has finally arrived! Many of our users asked us to integrate their desktop experience more seamless into a mobile solution. To make this happen, we’ve simplified the mobile version and made it faster and more intuitive. In this article, we explain how you set it up (hint: no set-up required). We also describe why we embarked on this journey and what solutions you can expect. And finally, we get into the nitty-gritty of this brand-new mobile startpage. Here’s everything you need to know.

How to set it up

Animated gif of the new mobile experience.
Animated gif of the new mobile experience.

If you want to access all your favorite bookmarks, RSS feeds or other widgets on your mobile device, just open your mobile browser and type https://start.me in the address field. There’s no need to install anything. Just go to this address, add your credentials, and you’re done! You can use any mobile browser.

The first thing you’ll see is a series of buttons arranged in alphabetical order.

The buttons are nothing more than your own widgets:

  • Blue for Bookmark widgets
  • Sea green for RSS Feeds
  • Yellow for Notes widgets
  • Red for To-do lists
  • Grey for all other widgets

There are several reasons why we’ve introduced these buttons, like simplicity and rendering speed. Especially when you’ve placed many widgets on your start page, you can now get a quick, uncluttered view of all widgets. In the old mobile version, this wasn’t possible at all. Also, due to limited screen sizes on mobile devices, we couldn’t show the regular columns we use for our desktop start pages.

The colors of these buttons can’t be personalized at the moment.

Every button, however, also displays the widget icon. It will show the standard image (a bookmark, a star, a note, a checkmark), but you can change this in the Desktop version. Your new icon will appear in the mobile version.

New features for the Bookmark widget

A demo of a mobile startpage: buttons to get to your widgets
A demo of a mobile startpage: buttons to get to your widgets

If you want to change the alphabetical widget order, click the Edit button in the top right corner of your screen. Now you can drag and drop the widgets wherever you like. The changes you make here have no effect on the desktop version of your start.me page.

When you’re in the page edit mode, you’re also free to delete any widget, by clicking the x. This change will affect your desktop site, so be careful. Once you’ve removed a widget, there’s no way back.

Once you’ve opened a widget, you can also click the edit icon. Now you can delete or rearrange the bookmarks, just like before, in the page edit mode. At the bottom of your widget, you’ll also notice a Settings icon (a cog). When you tap here, you can change the title of your widget and decide if you want to show the bookmarks as a list or as a collection of icons.

Quickly add new sites

We’ve retained the search bar, set to do a customized Google search. You can use it to locate one of your bookmarks, as it will display the results of your bookmark search immediately. You can also use it to easily add any site you’ve found to your start.me page.

Once you’ve located the site you want to add to your start page, click the Bookmark icon next to the address.

Add sites at the click of a bookmark icon.
Add sites at the click of a bookmark icon.

Other ways to add bookmarks to your start.me page is by clicking our Bookmarklet or by adding one directly to a widget. Just click the Add icon at the bottom of any Bookmark widget and start typing. As you’re typing our Discover section will offer suggestions you can click to confirm.

Add bookmarks by clicking the familiar Add icon.
Add bookmarks by clicking the familiar Add icon.

Use multiple pages

Since every start.me user can make more than one page, we had to find a quick way to access them. As you’d expect from using the desktop version, you click the Menu icon (the Hamburger) in the top left corner of your screen. Now you can view all pages at once or get to the Account information. If you have enough pages, you even get a horizontal scrollbar.

 

Use the Menu icon to get to your account or to switch pages.
Use the Menu icon to get to your account or to switch pages.

In the same section, you will also find multiple links to other sources of information. Just try it out, it should feel quite familiar.

If you want to change the title of your pages, you open them and scroll to the bottom. You’ll find a button ‘Page settings’ where you can change the title, among other things.

Other useful apps: notes, todo, RSS feeds

When we imagined the redesign of the mobile version of our start page, we thought a lot about its practical usability. We realized that some widgets might be more useful on the fly than others.

Add any widget you like. Or all!
Add any widget you like. Or all!

The notes widget, for example, for quickly jotting down a phone number, a name, some other piece of information. We’ve made this more straightforward than ever while retaining the unobtrusive Markdown options.

Adding a Todo list will be useful for adding and checking off grocery lists. In the mobile version, you can add new tasks or items just by clicking the Add button.

Another useful addition to our clutter free widget is the RSS feed. From one page you can quickly scan a News source, or more than one if you prefer.

Of course, you could save your notes in Google Keep, Evernote or OneNote, your Todo lists with Wunderlist or Todoist and your News feeds in yet another app or series of apps, but why not have it all in one place? Safe, comfortable and reliable. A seamless experience across platforms and devices. Available and in sync wherever you have access to the Internet. Just to make your life online a bit more efficient.

Let us know what you think!

We’ve covered a lot of ground here: a brand-new mobile start page is no small feat. I hope you can tell we’re proud of the new version. We also realize we’re not there yet. Even as we are writing this article, we still discover an occasional bug. We try to remedy everything as soon as possible, but again, we’re only human. We might have missed something.

Even more: we might have made some choices you’re not too happy about. Please do let us know in the comments below. Or drop us a line at support@start.me.

And of course, we’re also more than happy to receive your compliments, if you have some to spare. Our mission is to empower our users to navigate the Internet more efficiently.

We really hope we’re doing just that!

Stefan van Dierendonck

Stefan van Dierendonck

For many years Stefan has been active as a blogger, building and maintaining his own and other websites. He is also the author of two well-received novels. Wherever possible, he tries to combine modern technology with literary or at least pleasantly legible content.


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17 Replies to “Just in: a beautiful new mobile experience”

  1. Is there any way to go back to the old version? I usually love everything you guys do but this is an ugly, depressing grey box in place of my formerly beautiful, customized start me page. 🙁

    1. Hi- as of next week Monday we’ll introduce a “switch back to desktop” version. This will allow you to see the old version on your mobile.

      1. Looking forward to being able to disable this! Seems like a cool feature but it’s not for me at all. I really liked the update you guys did recently where the mobile version condensed all of my columns, I thought that was perfect.
        This new mobile version gets rid of all the styling I made and requires more taps to get to my favorite items.

        1. We now added the option to “switch back to the desktop version” on your mobile. You can find it in the main menu.

          1. Could you please add an option in the settings to disable it for the PC browser version as well? I don’t like how it switches to the “phone” version when I shrink my browser window.

          2. Yes – we will improve the detection of mobile devices so that on PC/Desktop computers start.me never switches to the mobile version (also not when you shrink your window). I’ll let you know when this is done.

        1. We now added the option to “switch back to the desktop version” on your mobile. You can find it in the main menu.

  2. You guys made an update a little bit ago that updated the mobile version be the same as the desktop except with just one long column. That was perfect. The new version isn’t great. It removes all of my custom styling and takes extra taps to open my pages.

  3. This fix still isn’t right. I don’t like the new mobile version at all. The fix creates a single column, which is still not what I want. I want to be able to see my original desktop version. I believe a good solution would be to add a parameter to the URL that allows me to control exactly which version I see.

    1. Hi Joey, Thanks for commenting on our mobile version. We’ve added a button to switch to the desktop version, which should render as a real page, not as a single column. Could you try this option? When there are still issues, please contact support with more detailed information like the device and browser you use. Thanks! Stefan

  4. On my android, no matter which browser I try, it just locks up when I open a widget. Sometimes the bookmark icons within the widget do not load. And nothing I do allows me to do anything. I just have to close the browser completely. This is all rather a disappointment.

    1. Hi John, Sorry to hear this. start.me should work on all devices, anytime. We’d like to investigate this further. Could you send us more information about your account (login details without password), device and browsers tested? You can mail it to our support team: support@start.me. Thanks in advance!

  5. Hi
    Been using Start.me for long time across multiple platforms with no issue.
    Just bought a new tablet with Android 7 (Nougat) and no matter which browser I get it insists on using the startme mobile site which is horrible as I have to make extra clicks to get to everything.
    I can force browser to use desktop version which is great but don;t want to do that every time I open the browser.
    Seen from above there used to be an option to turn off mobile site but doesn’t seem to exist anymore 🙁
    Anyway around this – I want something that works across all my devices and browsers and startme has been brilliant so don’t want to change but this is far too much hassle if it can’t be changed.

    1. Hi Chris, Great to hear you like to use start.me just the way it’s intended. We’ve tried to solve the problem you describe with the mobile site with a new toggle button in the ME-menu. You get there by clicking the user icon > Switch to mobile version. If you want to return to the desktop site, you click the User icon > Switch to desktop version. Your preference should be saved with a cookie. Did you enable cookies? Please let us know if this works for you. Otherwise, please contact our support team with more technical details. We might miss something. Thanks in advance!

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