Saturday, 10 November 2012

Construction industry content on your mobile

Looking at the web stats for this blog, this year so far 13% of visitors have been using a mobile device. This compares with 3% over the same period from 2011. This is a massive jump. In fact this is a larger percentage now accessing content using a phone than those sitting at a desk using a Mac. (The break down is roughly 8% usage on iPhone and 2% Android for the other mobile devices).

When delivering content to a mobile device, as an R+D team you have three choices:
  1. Do nothing to your website - let the user "double tap" and zoom and pan
  2. Design and develop a platform specific "App" - but then, for which platform (iPhone? iPad? Windows? Android?... the list goes on)
  3. Have a specifically designed UI that is optimised for use on a small screen through the web browser
At NBS we have decided to follow the third option when it comes to our most used website RIBAProductSelector.com.

One thing that you'll notice when visiting RIBAProductSelector.com on a mobile is that it now automatically redirects to the website m.RIBAProductSelector.com. This is a different user interface - but the same fantastic technical content. This approach is a principle that has also been recently adopted by bbc.co.uk/news as shown in the screenshot below:
BBC News - now redirecting to mobile friendly version
The screenshot below shows this experience with RIBAProductSelector.com:
Home page
When searching for product literature this works really nicely in terms of finding items and then storing them in your iBooks area of your device (or equivalent):
Quickly find product literature
Save product literature to your mobile device
Also, if you quickly want to give a manufacturer a phone call or drop them an email - this is possible as the contact details link into the respective features on your device:
Search for a company...
...and here's my number, call me maybe? 
And of course RIBAProductSelector.com is not just about literature, product specifications and contact details - there are also thousands of inspirational photographs and case studies. These can all be browsed really nicely on a mobile device.
Browse inspirational architectural images
Zoom in on images that are of interest
Browse case studies and learn how products have been successfully used
Members of our R&D team have been working on this for a few months, but it wasn't until I had a good play around with it on my iPhone that I realised how nice the user experience this is on a hand held device.

Finally, finishing on software technology for those interested, there is a new hot topic that is worth looking into and that is "Responsive web design". A single style-sheet that responds to the screen width. Maybe that's a topic for another blog post. A 4th option for future developments?

2 comments:

  1. thanks for share.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Site doesn't redirect on a Samsung Galaxy S4 :(

    ReplyDelete