Yahoo! to go
Launched at a time when there 1,000s of phone models and 100s of mobile browsers, Yahoo! on mobile had 45 million users in the first 12 months.
The early days of web browsing on mobile phones was unpredictable: one phone’s browser might not be able to show text in bold while iPhones and Android phones could render experiences with near-desktop fidelity. Creating compelling mobile experiences in 38 countries for 3,800 types of phone and browser combinations was the hard challenge for Yahoo!, whose business relies on delivering the highest quality web experience no matter what.
In a precursor to responsive web design, we designed and built five classes of ‘templates’—that would account for the variety of HTML support and screen size. We went on to develop an abstracted markup language and rendering engine that allowed us to ‘write once and run anywhere.’ Based on device class, the on-device experience would gracefully degrade. For example, if the phone didn’t support bold, a headline would be shown in all caps, while bold in body copy would be shown in blue.
Usage response was phenomenal. In the first 12 months we grow active user by 105% (m/m) to 45 million (our pre-launch organic growth rate was about 28%).