February 24, 2011
Dictionary.com revamped its mobile site to provide a seamless user experience for both smartphone and feature phone users.
Making the site compatible with multiple devices was a priority for the company, which aimed for an app-like feel on smartphones and a clean interface appropriate for older phones. The Feb. 24 launch is an improvement on the previously existing site, using HTML 5 technology and interactive features to improve the user experience.
“The old site had a single banner and some text below—very minimal,” said Steve Paddon, vice president of products and service at Trilibis Mobile, San Mateo, CA. “We wanted to evolve it to the next generation of mobile content.
“Social network integration, so you can post to Facebook or Twitter, was also important,” he said.
Dictionary.com is a subsidiary of NASDAQ: IACI and an affiliate of Ask.com. The company was launched in 1995 to provide Web surfers fast access to definitions and reference resources.
To launch the new site, Dictionary.com partnered with Trilibis Mobile, which provides companies with mobile development services, including applications, promotional programs and Web sites.
Also important to Dictionary.com is the mobile Web site’s ability to adapt to different devices without sacrificing content or quality, a notable difference from the previous mobile site.
“It dresses up and dresses down, based on the device that hits it,” Mr. Paddon said. “It’s disappointing when you look at a site that’s made for a Razr on an iPhone."
For users accessing the mobile site through a feature phone, it is designed to skip the content the device cannot handle, without disturbing the page’s design and layout.
“If the content is too heavy for it, it takes it down,” Mr. Paddon said. “We wanted this to work across the board.”
Consistency is key
The mobile site mirrors the PC site as far as color schemes, design and layout. Mr. Paddon said companies should keep online and mobile consistency in mind to avoid confusing its customer base.
“You don’t see brands always doing that,” Mr. Paddon said. “You’ll see their Android app and their BlackBerry app and they’re styled completely differently.
“You spend money on the marketing activities that establish the brand, so why wouldn’t you leverage that,” he said.
The mobile site is packed with new features.
The popular translation component saw an upgrade, now able to translate to a wider range of languages.
The “word of the day” and Hot Word blog provide fresh content on a daily basis.
New features on the Dictionary.com mobile site
Given the abundance of content on the PC site, Dictionary.com plans to integrate more features to the mobile site in the future.
“Dictionary.com currently has three apps, one being the core Dictionary.com app, which is similar to the mobile Web site, but is investigating new ones,” Mr. Paddon said.
“A lot of content online fits well with the apps, like the variety of board games,” he said.
The site is currently ad-supported, but Dictionary.com will continue testing how the advertisements are placed, making sure the right ads are being used for its audience.
“One of the metrics for success for this was to see if we’re able to increase the page views, lower the bounce rates, and get more return visits,” Mr. Paddon said.