Introducing AnandTech Mobile: A Responsive Design Updateby Anand Lal Shimpi on July 15, 2013 9:47 AM EST
- Posted in
- Site Updates
For the past couple of months our ad sales team has been engaged with Box, an enterprise file sharing and cloud content management company. Box was looking for a way to increase its exposure and brand awareness, and we had a platform to do just that. Rather than rely on typical advertising, Box was thinking of something a little more, er, outside of the box.
Box is absolutely amazing to work with. Rather than asking what we could do for them, they asked us what they could do for us. What immediately came to mind was the overwhelming number of requests for a responsive version of AnandTech. We presented the idea of sponsoring the design and creation of AnandTech Mobile to Box, and they loved it. Over the past month we've been modifying AnandTech and preparing the first responsive implementation of the site. Today, AnandTech Mobile is live.
Our mobile web strategy is built entirely around a responsive design. We now effectively have four views that are dynamically presented depending on browser resolution: smartphone portrait (320px), smartphone landscape (321px - 767px), tablet (768px - 1000px) and desktop. The smartphone portrait and tablet views are below:
You don't have to go to a separate URL to hit any of these views, they present themselves based on what resolution your browser reports. Keep in mind that high DPI displays usually advertise their resolution as some fraction of the actual resolution, so even if you have a 1080p smartphone you'll be presented with one of the smartphone views by default rather than a tiny desktop view.
All of the pages on the main site are now responsive thanks to Box's sponsorship. Any URL you open will present you a styled version of the site optimized to the device you're reading it on. Even our live blogs work, as does Bench - our performance comparison tool. In the mobile views of Bench we had to change the way we present two product comparison data to deal with more limited screen real estate. The result is pretty cool:
Rather than presenting bars, you get color coded boxes with the benchmark scores inside. For each benchmark, a darker colored box implies better performance. This is actually a bit of an improvement over what we do in the desktop view because you can easily tell which product wins a particular benchmark without having to see whether lower or higher results are better.
If for whatever reason you want to disable the mobile view you can do so in the About area of the mobile design at the bottom of the page, and can similarly re-enable it at the bottom of the desktop page. This toggle is cookie based so you'll need to have cookies enabled for it to work.
I'm really pleased with the way all of this turned out. It was a huge effort on behalf of our designer and developer but the end result looks great. I can't stress enough just how instrumental Box was in making all of this happen now. Box wanted to enable something good for the AnandTech readers and that's exactly what they've done. If you find the new mobile views of AnandTech useful, please show Box your appreciation in the comments and if you'd like to sign up for a free personal or business Box account I'm sure that wouldn't hurt either.
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mrob27 - Monday, July 15, 2013 - linkThis is really cool -- I can view the different layouts on my PC using windows of different widths. No user agent spoofing required!
skiboysteve - Monday, July 15, 2013 - linkwow agreed. Just resize your window and it changes on the fly. dont even have to refresh. so cool!
thanks Anand and Box!
quiksilvr - Monday, July 15, 2013 - linkNo podcast section?
Anand Lal Shimpi - Monday, July 15, 2013 - linkAdded Podcast link to the Home menu at the top :)
Firebat5 - Monday, July 15, 2013 - linkThanks for making a mobile version of your site. It's much easier to read and navigate.
Chapbass - Monday, July 15, 2013 - linkWow, looks awesome on my Galaxy Note 2, loads really quick too. AT just got a ton more enjoyable on mobile, IMO. Also looks great on my work ipad gen 3. One thing I noticed, I don't see a link for Forums or Bench, would be awesome to have personally. (yeah, I guess I could just favorite them, but it'd still be nice to have :D).
Great job, bravo to the Box devs as well, this looks excellent.
Anand Lal Shimpi - Monday, July 15, 2013 - linkBench is there (try the home menu up top, or scroll down). Just added links for Forums and Podcast.
Rick83 - Monday, July 15, 2013 - linkNow if only the site would scale up as well.
Maybe a two-column or side-by-side layout might work to make use of all that currently useless horizontal space that everybody has on their 16:10/16:9 displays.
Considering how much horizontal scrolling most articles currently take, I'm seeing definite room for improvement on that front.
coder543 - Monday, July 15, 2013 - linkThis is excellent!
My one complaint -- the nav icons in the top right corner (in the nav bar) are so low resolution. On high-PPI screens, they look blurry.
Otherwise, this is a huge step in the right direction!
Storkme - Monday, July 15, 2013 - linkWould it be possible to reveal some more technical details about the implementation? I'd be interested to know if it's purely responsive (same content in the DOM, restyled only using CSS/JS) or there is still some backend user-agent sniffing magic going on?