Thanks for doing such a good job on this - stands us in really good stead with folk when they know how well things are done by you guys.
Things To Do is LIVE on mobile and looking fantastic!
I just wanted to say a personal thanks to all the development team at Aerian Studios - Tom for your fantastic work at the Things To Do Mobile coal-face and Ben, Andy and Simon for all the underlying work that supports it.
BBC Things To Do MobileClient: BBC
Launch date: 24/10/2011
BBC Things To Do is an activity finder enabling users to discover local activities offered by the BBC and its partners. The site contains many hundreds of activities and events which are expected to grow as more partners come on board.
This project involved creating a mobile phone version of the existing site, and is one of the first BBC mobile sites to use the new Mobile GEL standards. The site uses several cutting-edge techniques to deliver the complete Things To Do experience on a wide range of devices.
The site uses complex content negotiation techniques to determine whether to present the desktop or mobile view, and then browser capability detection to switch on the improved user experiences. The content negotiation is extremely important for the BBC, as this means that the same URL is used to serve up the mobile and desktop sites depending on device - a massive boost for SEO.
One of the other key technical achievements is the use of responsive design to deliver different layouts depending on browser screen size. This means that bigger screens get higher resolution images, larger fonts and other styling tweaks, all from the same stylesheet by using CSS3 media queries.
Under the hood, the back-end usees much of the complexity from the desktop mobile site. In MVC terms, we're using the same M's and C's for both the mobile and desktop views, and simply switching out the V's. This approach creates an incredibly efficient workflow for generating mobile versions of sites with all the same back-end functionality as the main site.
The mobile site has been greatly received across the BBC and has been marked as something of a standard bearer for the future quality of the BBC's mobile offerings. Aside from this, it was a fun project to to, and one from which we learned a massive amount.