Two years is a long time in digital. And after two years of faithful service, this spring, the time had come to give the Yomego website a well-deserved make over. The great site you see now is the result of that process - but we wanted to explain what we did (HTML5, responsive design) and why.
|Yomego's 2010 vintage site
Earlier this year, we all sat down to thrash out what we were going to do – and it became immediately clear that Yomego's in-house design and development team was desperate to get to grips with a few new toys – especially responsive design and HTML5, with umbraco used for managing the site.
But being a sensible bunch we decided to do a bit more research into these technologies – and HTML5 in particular, to make sure we were going to do this for the right reasons. We took the classic pros and cons approach – and now, with the site live in all its responsive, HTML5-umbraco glory, we thought it would be useful to share this list with you and explain the thinking behind taking these approaches for the new site – and why taking the plunge was the right thing to do.
- One design fits all – with a bit of careful thought, the design of the site would carry through to all devices: smartphones, tablets and desktops – and maintain its integrity throughout.
- Simpler back-end build – with a site built in this way, the back-end developers would only need to build one version of the site rather than several for different platforms. While the front-end would take care of the presentation layer on all devices.
- Lower maintenance overheads – with just one site to maintain, updates or layout changes are front-end only, so much simpler to implement.
- HTML 5– although HTML5 is still not fully defined, it of course will be eventually. So by building this way, we’d be adding a bit of future proofing – which again, will make updating the site in the future much easier.
- Keeping Google happy – Google now recommends building responsive sites in this way for smartphones. We need to keep them on side.
- Team skills development – building this site would mean lots of new things to master which keeps the team motivated and at the forefront of development technology
- Keeping the team happy – this was the most important consideration, of course. Every member of the team was massively keen to get their hands dirty and explore the potential of this new approach. In short – we wanted to get our hands on the new toys.
- Longer front end build– we knew there would be a fairly steep learning curve here but thanks to fantastic resources like HTML5 Boilerplate and the Foundation framework we knew we wouldn’t find this too painful.
- What about legacy browsers? Unfortunately media queries and many HTML5 elements are not supported by Internet Explorer 7 and 8, but thanks to the polyfills built into the frameworks this is taken care of.
- Site load times – this remains an issue for responsive sites viewed on smartphones. While bits of the site are switched on or off depending on the viewing device, essentially the whole site still has to load. So although sites look great, they can be slow to load on mobile. But as mobile download speeds improve and fixes are developed, this will become less of a problem.
As you can guess the pros far outweighed the cons for us so we felt using this new method was the right way to go. Sometimes making the harder decisions now means you’ll be making easier ones in the future. Best of all, the boss totally bought our pros and cons list, and the dev team got their new gadgets and technology. And as you can see from the site you’re viewing now, everything worked like a dream.