Mobilizing Content Science

A Few Lessons We Learned from Dogfooding It

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Feb 02 2012

Strategy can take so much work that we lose connection to execution. Execution is important. If you implement a fantastic strategy poorly, you might as well not have a strategy at all. It won’t work.

That’s why I welcomed the chance to mobilize this website. To keep it interesting, we ate our own dogfood by following our own advice. The effort reminded us of some handy lessons.

MOBILIZE WHEN YOU + YOUR USERS ARE READY

Mobile mania has been in full force for a while now. But, industry reports that just about every human (and some dogs) will have a smartphone this year do not necessarily mean you should drop everything and make your site mobile. We waited until our analytics showed that people were visiting our site on mobile devices. One benefit to waiting is when we launched the mobile site, we had visitors right away. We could justify the value of the mobile site easily.

HELP USERS SAVE TIME OR KILL TIME

We decided that our site displayed well enough for tablets, so we focused on smartphones. We followed our own advice that a smartphone experience is about helping users

  • save time, such as deposit a check remotely.
  • kill timesuch as playing a game while waiting at the airport.

So, to save users time, we provided ways to contact us or find us. To kill time, we gave access to our blog—a little content food for thought. Check out the home screen here:

content-science-mobile

We’ll see how this approach holds up over time, but we found it very useful for deciding what to include and what to leave out.

THE DEVIL IS IN THE REDIRECT DETAILS

We decided to detect when visitors use a smartphone browser and redirect them to the mobile site. Redirects are lovely in theory but a pain in practice, and the case was no different here. Soon after launching, we realized we needed to change how redirects work for links to specific blog posts. We were redirecting people to the mobile home page instead of the mobile version of the blog post. Fortunately, we could fix that quickly. But, imagine a redirect problem for a huge organization or for a high-stakes product page. It’s worth taking time to think through redirects in detail.

All in all, our own dog food went down pretty smoothly. The experience reminded us that good strategy means nothing without good execution.

To check out the mobile (smartphone optimized) site, grab your smartphone and visit content-science.com.