mobile website integration
The mobile responsive website for The Dog's Doodahs website is not a stand-alone version. It interacts with the existing, complex personalisation process, that was developed specifically for The Dog’s Doodahs when it was conceived 5 years ago.
Updates and improvements are continuous but on the day it was conceived a portable version controlled by a touch screen, multi-gesture interface was not at the front of anyone’s mind. One of the biggest challenges has been integrating seamlessly with existing technology, the desktop and mobile versions both interact with a single database, content management system and workflow engine.
A card started on the mobile site and saved, can be picked up and finished on the desktop version at a later date – and vice versa.
One of the most noticeable aspects of The Dog’s Doodahs website is the unique and quirky design. The website has a ‘personality’ that needed to be retained for the mobile site. Yet, with a smaller scale, limited space and potentially restricted bandwidth (if used with a mobile data connection) we needed to strip the site back to its bare bones, and build back it’s identify from there.
Phones and tablets vary so much; in physical size, screen ratio, operating systems and software variants and whether the preference is to hold it Landscape or Portrait. And that’s without taking into account an in custom installed browser. The mobile website needed to respond and adapt to make the user experience as flexible as possible.
Stats in general show rapidly (more than anyone would have dared predict) increasing ‘mobile’ browsing. The specific stats for The Dogs Doodah’s tell us it’s not necessarily mobile phones being operated on the go, but instead a large majority of the sites user base opting for a tablet as a quick and easy means to browse the web from the comfort of their sofa, presumably quite often alongside another activity such as watching TV.
Responding to this growing trend was a necessity to ensure the user experience was not compromised at all by using such a device, in fact the opposite is the case, we’ve been able to enhance the mobile website by taking advantage of some of the benefits of touch screen browsing.
iOS and Android do do things differently, but it’s not as simple as that, different versions of iOS need to be catered for as well as retina and non-retina displays, and then there’s the physical size difference; increased available viewing area and different aspect ratios of iPad over an iPhone. Then things get even more complex when you look into Android devices. So many different manufactures with a wide selection of products and a massive variation in screen size, resolution and aspect ratio. Different versions of the operating system, some devices restricted to earlier version due to limitations of the hardware and then individual manufactures customizing the operating system for their own purpose. The Kindle Fire being one device that stood out as ‘a bit different’.
The solution was to get back to basics, you can’t target specific devices or screen sizes so we opted for basically two views, landscape or portrait. The assumption being a tablet you tend to hold landscape, more like a traditional desktop screen, whereas a mobile is more likely to be operated in a portrait view. There was a lot of fiddling around to get a ‘best fit for all’ design but we’re happy with the result.
The most successful part is the thing as a whole! From the years of experience gained with the current desktop website, understanding how the user moves through the process and having an opportunity to review this process and take a new approach to streamlining the process and user journey.