Overview

Pairing with Refinery29's developers, we built a mobile website that connects a fast-growing audience of users with content, commerce, and community

Results

Building on their highly successful desktop website, Refinery29 came to Pivotal Labs for help extending their reach on mobile. With a huge percentage of user traffic coming from smartphones and tablets, optimizing for those platforms made a lot of sense. The mobile website had to demonstrate high performance and provide a smooth experience so that its 30 million unique annual users would keep coming back.

The mobile site, which launched early April 2014, provides a clean, intuitive experience optimized for mobile users. Users and advertisers have expressed positive feedback, indicating that the site is a success.

The incorporation of agile processes into Refinery29’s development practice has sped up the workflow and development cycle, enabling them to continue developing the website using the techniques learned while collaborating at Pivotal Labs.

"Right from the get-go, Pivotal Labs demonstrated how much they fundamentally cared about our product and needs, as well as the process and code. They were super welcoming — they allowed us to use their meeting rooms for ourselves when needed, invited us to their weekly Tech Talks, and always said ‘yes’ when we needed something. We were impressed by their excitement to work on hard problems with unique challenges, and their executive input."
Jon Dobrowolski, Director of Product, Mobile

Process

The mobile website was built on a platform that enables images, text, slideshows, videos, and promotional material. It was integrated with Brightcove for video content, and Facebook, Pinterest, and Disqus for social sharing. Additional content types, such as YouTube videos, Instagram photos, and any other third-party interactions can be embedded in an article.

All the content is presented in a new, more readable “card” design, allowing readers to effortlessly scroll through an infinite stream of articles, videos, and slideshows. The seamless interface lets users dive straight into the articles they want to read, without needing to leave the main feed. Keeping the interface clean and simple helps users consume more content quickly and effortlessly, which in turn means more ad impressions. Emphasis was put on making slideshows and videos as interactive as possible, allowing the user to drag and pinch images while navigating the slideshow experience. An expandable side navigation allows users to move between different content feeds depending on what topics interest them.

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