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Forbes rejuvenates mobile Web site with app-like redesign

Forbes is introducing a new mobile Web experience that brings a Snapchat-inspired design to Forbes stories.

The new site will use Progressive Web App technology to make the publisher?s mobile site behave more akin to a mobile application. This technology heralds a future in which mobile Web experiences will be comparable to, and serve as incentives for, mobile apps.

?We?ve completely overhauled our approach to product innovation so that we can better respond to the way our readers are consuming content and address the rapid changes in the marketplace,? said Salah Zalatimo, senior vice president of product and technology at Forbes Media.  ?This new mobile site is our first major step in optimizing our storytelling capabilities, and it?s creating a better, faster and more engaging experience for Forbes readers.?

Progressive Web App
Mobile apps were extremely popular at the advent of smartphones, as exemplified by the iconic catchphrase: ?There?s an app for that.?

But lately things have changed. Consumers have limited space on their phones and the market is so saturated with apps that many are choosing to block out all but the most essential.

This leaves a dilemma for brands and marketers who still want to get their message across but are no longer able to push the kinds of app install numbers that they were used to.

Brands are responding in a variety of different ways. One method, as is being taken by Forbes, uses a new technology called Progressive Web Apps.

This technology allows brands to build mobile Web sites that look and act like an app instead of a mobile Web page.

Mobile Web pages are notoriously difficult to navigate, even for the most streamlined and mobile-optimized of brands.

PWA allows mobile sites to behave more fluidly and offer the same services that consumers traditionally get from apps.

Forbes is rolling out this change in three stages. Phase one will offer the newly designed Web site for only users who visit a Forbes article through Google?s AMP program. 

The second phase will show the new site to any social reader, while phase three sees it being rolled out to 100 percent of Forbes? mobile audience.

App replacement
The new Web pages load in under a second and are much better optimized for mobile viewing than standard mobile Web pages.

Forbes? new app-like mobile Web page is inspired by Snapchat-style stories and features a similar navigation method.

This is consistent with the general feelings toward Snapchat in the media and publishing world, with a large number of publishers migrating their services to Snapchat (see story).

In addition to redesigned mobile Web pages, many brands are turning to messaging as an alternative to apps (see story).

Forbes push to make its mobile Web page fluid and app-like represents a significant change in the future of how media companies host their stories on mobile.

Other brands are likely to follow suit if Forbes? experiment proves a success.

?The launch of this new PWA marks the culmination of a year-long organizational transformation Forbes has undergone to become a product-driven company.  We?ve been able to quickly iterate on this new product to gather input and alignment from all stakeholders ? readers, journalists, and advertisers,? Mr. Zalatimo said.