GoMo: Ryland Homes’ mobile-friendly site helps drive home sales and achieves more cost-effective conversions
I’m very proud Google is featuring the Ryland Homes mobile site I helped to develop on their GoMo site. GoMo is Google’s initiative to share best practices in mobile website design. Skip on over to the GoMo site and see what they had to say.
As we continue to help businesses make their sites more mobile-friendly with the GoMo initiative, we’ll be illustrating the impact of mobile site best practices by spotlighting how a range of companies have created great mobile experiences for their users. Today, we look at the mobile success strategies of Ryland Homes.
One of America’s top five production new-home builders, Ryland Homes relies heavily on web-based sales and marketing efforts to sell directly to home-buyers. With a steady increase in mobile traffic to the Ryland desktop site, the company recognized it needed a mobile strategy to support its growing base of on-the-go prospects. “Our customers are out there moving around with their mobile phones, and they need to find things very quickly,” says Diane Morrison, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Ryland Homes, who drove the company’s mobile site initiative.
Ryland Homes used the following GoMo mobile site best practices to bring its mobile site to life:
Keep it Quick
Content was prioritized for mobile, with the most in-demand content included for fast access, from maps and photos to model details and quick move-in homes.
The team employed intuitive site navigation features such as a persistent “Back” and “Home” buttons, consistent colors and buttons, and a vertical-scrolling design.
Ryland’s mobile site uses buttons instead of links. “It’s better than trying to get your finger to hit the little spot where the underlined text is,” notes Jason Grovert, The Ryland Group’s Chief Technology Officer.
Make it Accessible
Ryland uses jQuery Mobile software and responsive web design to load the site variation that works best with each user’s smartphone or tablet. “There are different needs, and different ways that users interact with the mobile site that we had to design for and adapt to,” Grovert explains.
Make it Easy to Convert
The mobile site increases conversions with clickable phone numbers, location-based driving directions to communities, and brief information request forms.
Make it Local
The development team took advantage of uniquely mobile functionality such as device location detection to direct users to nearby Ryland communities.
Use Mobile Site Redirects
The Ryland Homes site intelligently detects which device type a user is visiting from and serves up the appropriate desktop or mobile optimized website. By adding a “View full site” link to the bottom of all pages of the mobile site, Ryland provides mobile users the option to always access the full version of their website.
Listen, Learn and Iterate
Ryland continues to iterate and improve on the current site (which launched in March 2011), and is planning additional features such as tell-a-friend and model floor-plans. The team also produced an iPhone app, but Grovert says, their strategy was “web first, not app first,” because of the mobile web’s wider device coverage.
The Ryland team also uses locally targeted, mobile-only Google AdWords campaigns to drive site traffic, not only spurring leads and conversions, but also saving the company approximately 30 percent per-conversion compared to the cost-per-conversion for desktop web-targeted AdWords campaigns.
Ryland’s mobile site has built on its success from day one, with traffic up an impressive 300 percent by August from its March launch. In July, Ryland Homes also logged its first home sale that began with a mobile lead. That milestone, along with steadily increasing site traffic, Morrison says, are “early-on proof that the mobile site is really working for us.”
Download the full PDF version of the Ryland Homes case study. To learn more about how to make your website mobile-friendly, register for our webinar “Making Mobile-Friendly Websites: Best Practices in Action,” which will take place on November 10 at 11 am PST/ 2 pm EST. And visit HowToGoMo.com to get more resources and tools to Go Mobile!
The jQuery Mobile Gallery, just featured our new Ryland mobile website. jQuery mobile is an amazing new mobile development framework. This framework is still in the alpha stage, so I’m looking forward to seeing how it will evolve. Give me the thumbs-up if you like it!
I had the great pleasure of being interviewed by the crazyawesome people at The Phoenix Egotist. Check it out…
February 2nd, 2011
Today’s spotlight creative role will cover some of the ins and outs of the web designer.
Most people have a general idea about what a web designer does, but not many know how they came to be and what they do specifically. Early web design goes back to 1993, when the Mosaic browser was introduced. This browser was one of the first that was capable of rendering text and graphics, albeit in a very limited arrangement. The following yearNetscape Navigator was released, followed by Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. With multiple browsers in the wild, the first browser war was born. Over the next 19 years, companies, including Apple, Opera, and Mozilla, joined in the fray to create the selection we have now.
As browsers improved and bandwidth increased, websites became driven by multimedia content in contrast to plain text and hyperlinks from its infant years. Designers could use tables and, eventually, Cascading Style Sheets or CSS to build and distribute sites. As the web expanded, so did the demand for websites, which blossomed into the web design industry.
Web design doesn’t have hundreds of years of history like more traditional art or even print design, but it does pull from these mediums as a model for layout, color theory, and other practices. What it does have that sets it apart from the more storied arts is the interactive element. When a web designer is commissioned to design a site, they are not simply arranging pretty pictures. They are trying to solve a problem through visual communication and the way a customer or consumer will interface with the solution. In other words, the elements on a website are put in specific places for specific reasons. Various decisions about color choices, font sizes, and perceived user interaction, are all taken into consideration. Web design could even be broken down into further categories: for example, user interface design versus user experience design. Each aspect of the profession warrants an entire post in itself.
There was a time when a web designer and a web developer were completely separate roles, and in some cases that may still be true, but as technology has changed and the web matured, that line continues to blur.
On occasion, we get the chance to interview someone who makes a living in our spotlight role. Today we talk with Jenny Messerly.
How did you get started in web design?
I began as a print designer who knew enough about the web to be dangerous. I quickly got bored of a static page and would jump on any interactive project I could get my hands on. Most of the time I had no idea what I was doing, but a lot of patience and a little Google got me through it. You have to start somewhere, right?
What type of projects do you typically involve yourself in?
I like to involve myself in projects where I’m trusted and the client/employer appreciates quality work. Technology requires some education and design is subjective, so mixing the two can be a doozy! If it involves food, that’s even better.
What are your day to day projects?
Right now I work on making one really big site really awesome. To do that I have to create user-flows to understand how a visitor will pass through the site, design web page layouts, forms and buttons and write markup to implement the design.
What are your thoughts about the Phoenix web design community?
I feel like the Phoenix design community is growing very strong, but the web design community is still very scarce. Is it because traditional designers are afraid of the dynamic unknown world of the web or their passion just simply isn’t designing for the web?
Where would you like to see the Phoenix web community head?
I’d like to see the Phoenix web community hold a conference focused on UI design, usability, interactive strategy and new technologies. For me, these types of events are always inspiring, give the community focus and create relationships between designers.
Jenny is UI Designer and Developer located in Scottsdale.
You can view her work at jennymesserly.com
So there you have it, a brief intro into the life of a web designer. Meet Your Creative is an on going showcase of the various avenues of design and creative thinking, let us know if there’s a creative role that you would like to learn more about.
Have you ever dried your hair by sticking your head out the car door? Have you used the oven to make toast or fashioned a belt with shoestrings?
Flash can be useful for:
- Online games
- Interactive demos, graphs, etc.
- Complex 3D animations
- Interactive kiosks
- Educational tools
NOT entire websites. Not really on websites at all.
Today, if I was approached to develop a website using only Flash, I’d grab the cheeks of that person and say, “Why DO you wanna do that??!!!” As of now, Flash has many more failures in comparison to other technologies. If Flash chooses not to fix those things, then it will become your mom’s technology and cease to exist.
Why Flash fails:
- Must install a plugin to use it on the web. Many school and corporate business computers won’t allow you to do this.
- Very buggy causing browser crashes. John Nack from Adobe admits that Flash is flawed in a post on his blog, but there is never mention of how they will solve these problems.
- Flash files can be large and increase loading time.
- Updating files is more time consuming for developers. For this reason, content tends to be aged on Flash websites.
- Developers must purchase the Adobe Flash software to create or revise files.
- Developers must have the source file (FLA) to revise Flash on a website.
- Not compatible with most mobile devices.
- Bad for web standards.
- The “Back” button does not work when navigating within a Flash object.
- The “Make text bigger/smaller” button does not work. Users are forced to read text in the designer-specified font size.
- Flash reduces accessibility for users with disabilities.
- Flash integrates poorly with search.
We’re already seeing major players convert Flash components to newer technologies. Video sites like YouTube, Vimeo and Brightcove (provide video for the NYT and Times) have all traded their Flash players for HTML5 video. Google and Mozilla are both enabling their browsers to play full-screen embedded video files with HTML5. Many businesses, like Virgin Airlines, are forced to remove Flash, since so many mobile devices aren’t supporting it. Apple was probably the largest influence in these conversions when they announced that the iPad would not support Flash. None of Apple’s mobile devices, iPod touch, iPhone or iPad EVER plan on supporting Flash. I hope you love Legos! Do you remember when Apple left out the floppy disk drive on the iMac? It joined the “Zach Morris phone” in the prehistoric technology museum. According to Wired.com, this is Steve Jobs’ take on Adobe and Flash…
They are lazy, Jobs says. They have all this potential to do interesting things but they just refuse to do it. They don’t do anything with the approaches that Apple is taking, like Carbon. Apple does not support Flash because it is so buggy, he says. Whenever a Mac crashes more often than not it’s because of Flash. No one will be using Flash, he says. The world is moving to HTML5.
Will Flash choose to adhere to a standard-based web and find solutions to its flaws? Probably not. I suggest you find a better tool for the job.
My boyfriend’s very clever response to a sweet Harvard rip-off. Thank you for making me choke on my soup today.
RE: sweetlady101 from Roommates.com
Hello Faith (Beauty),I’m doing quite awesome ass today (as we say in the states). Im quite glad you found my email address and can’t wait to find out more about you. I too have a Master’s degree, and I feel rather inferior to you as you have yours from Harvard! I mean ASU gets quite the joshing because we do like to prance about in our knickers and toss back a few pints from time to time. However, they frown upon those with poor grammatical skills. I’m quite sure that Harvard looks beyond that though, and that you could provide us assistance in engineering a rocket, or inventing a new strand of marijuana. I look forward to the possibilities.
The 3th of February? Im sorry Beauty but I am not aware of when that date is. What is threeth translated to in the states? Please let me know so that I can ready your room for that date as we are currently using it to hold an underground squirrel breeding area. Don’t worry, we are fully supported by PETA in our efforts and I assure you that all smells and stains will be removed prior to the threeth.
The initial cost to move in will be $1000 and I must receive the payment via Paypal, money order or cash. I will also need a complete picture of yourself with your stats and answers to the following questions:
1. What type of employment are you seeking here? Considering nobody is getting hired (with poor grammatical skills especially) I was wondering if you were considering such occupations as pole dancing? This of course could really bring in the rent and my roommate and I wouldn’t mind a show once in awhile.
2. How would you really be able to move in from Abu Dhabi or wherever you are in such a short time? My concern is that I need to really clean the squirrel shit out of that room…and I might need more time.
3. You might want to go back to Harvard and get your money back, as roommate scams are something they highly frown upon in the business ethics class.
Hope to hear from you soon!
Dan (The Beholder)
sweetlady101 from Roommates.com
How are you today ? After going through your profile i realised you are going to be a great roommate and thats why i contacted you through your email address you left for me in the email, thanks for the mail, Well, I am Faith Benson (My friends call me Beauty ) born in England . I completed my O – levels and my A – levels at Headington school on Oxford , England . I have a Bachelor’s and masters Degree in Computer Engineering from Imperial college in London and an MBA from Harvard Business school . professionally , my experience is in Finance consulting and enterpreneurship .I started my career at citi bank , in London before joining Boston Consulting group .I was based in the London office but worked across the continents . I came down to Cote d ‘ivore french country Africa in the year 2008 and joined my branch office here and now working as the software engineer /project manager .I am a very dedicated individual who is totally committed to human development, friendly, very trustworthy and value relationship above anything. I love travelling, sporting and enjoy meeting people. I dont smoke but do not mind people who do being around me. I am cool headed and easy going person with no criminal record and like to have a roommate who is very responsible and understanding, someone i can really get along with.
I’m a quiet and easy going person to live with. My families lives there in London and i have no friends in US except you lol. as i am currently in Abidjan City , but hope to end my current assignment by the 3th of Feb, and should be in the states latest 10th of Feb, as i like to come over to explore my talent and hope to have a more profitable job.
I saw your advert in roommates.com and i am sincerely interested in the room advertised as i will like to move in as soon as possible. Please i will love to know the total cost for initial move in room and the utilities so as to arrange for you to get the payment prior to my arrival, since i am currently in Cote d ‘ivore Africa , and will love to move into a comfortable place on my arrival.
Thanks and have a good time.
Please contact me if you are still looking for a mate
someone asked me yesterday which blogs i read to stay hip on visual trends and learn more about designing for the web. i thought you all might be interested in some of my favorites too:
- Brand New a division of Underconsideration
opinions on corporate and brand identity work. great for design inspiration.
- Download Squad
the latest tech news, web apps, online tools and time wasters.
how people with social technologies are changing everything. great research and examples.
- LinkedIn Answers for Graphic Design and LinkedIn Answers for Web Development
ask those brain-wrecking questions and get responses immediately. it’s a great place to observe, learn and interact with individuals in the industry. lastly, if you’re freelance, it can be a great resource for work.
web development and design tutorials. very thorough.
SEO, blog and search engine marketing news
- Six Revisions
web development and design information. great tools, inspiration and freebies.
- Smashing Apps
opensource, free and useful online resources for designers and developers. my fav!
- Weird Resources
freebies, useful web resources and design inspirations.
web design, tutorials, resources and inspiration. one of my new finds. he created a great guide “the woork handbook” for css that you can download for free.
do you guys have any to add? i’d love to hear.
who wants to start the new year with a sparkly new website? i do! i do (can i trade the sparkles for some wood panels?)! check out my updated portfolio, learn about me and feel free to message me with my new contact form. i will be making a lot of additions and changes in the next few weeks, so check back often or add me to your RSS feed.