This post was originally made on the Assanka blog. Assanka was acquired by the Financial Times in January 2012, and became what is now FT Labs. Learn more.
We are delighted to say that last night, FT.com won ‘best mobile site’ at The Association of Online Publishers Awards in London which celebrate the very best in UK digital media. The judges said that m.ft.com was
clear, clean, easy to use, with good use of personalisation while staying true to the brand. A thoroughly effective mobile site.
Assanka has been involved with the development of FT’s online services since 2006, and it’s fantastic that this, our first foray into mobile, has resulted in such a prestigous award. We took an uncompromising approach to developing the FT’s new-look site for mobile users. We knew that FT readers are big fans of Blackberry, and increasingly they’re also browsing on iPhones. The range of browser capabilities, particularly when you factor in corporations rolling out custom configurations to all their Blackberries, is daunting.
We developed a set of interchangeable templates that mapped to various device capabilities, to suit the CSS and HTML rendering peculiarities of the various mobile browser technologies. Another challenge is charting. On some devices, we have quite a high resolution available, and can include charts and graphs with plenty of detail. On devices with smaller screens, we serve the same chart at a different size with less detail, to give the user a similar quality of experience and ensure that the graphic is well sized for the reader’s handset.
Finally, thanks to cookie support on many modern handsets, and the co-operation of many network operators that helpfully provide tracking data to us as they pass on the user’s requests to our servers, we are able to log in mobile users and attach their FT user account to their handset. This enables readers to customise their homepage, displaying their portfolio stocks and customising the regional focus of their news stories.
Overall, the site has been a big success, and a good couple of kilos of glass now says you don’t even have to take my word for it. Grab your phone and head over to m.ft.com and judge for yourself.