Help Center expansion
Champagne! Please join us in celebrating the first mobile version of the 1&1 Help-Center for Germany! 🙂 Take a look from your smart-phones at http://m.hilfe-center.1und1.de/
Android, iPhone Blackberry and Windows mobile users are welcomed!
This was our first mobile experience, and a lot of people were looking forward to see the final product while keeping an eye on the launch date. This meant a lot of pressure as we had to prepare UX, Design, JS, CSS, bit of PHP, and also familiarize ourselves with mobile site best practices.
Once we had an initial version of the site, QA started. It was one of the biggest parts of the project as they had to make sure everything was running ok on most of the platforms, resolutions, screen sizes and browsers. We achieved a great experience on devices with Android 2, 3, 4, iOS, BlackBerry, Windows 8 Mobile. Based on the site statistics this covers over 99% of mobile visitors of Help-Center. So thumbs up for Adrian Ene-Grigoruta from QA!
The team worked hard to finish it on time, and the release was not without last minute emotions:
We only had a limited number of devices available from the company, and after the silent launch we discovered that Windows and certain versions of Android were not rendering the page well. After trying to fix problem trough JS for a few days, we tried alternative solutions. The one that worked in our case was to rewrite the CSS for 320px (initially was for 640px). Why? In mobile web browsers you don’t have access to the screen resolution, but to the viewport size, which, on almost all phones, is 320px (this is ok, considering how many possible resolution are on the market).
So, cheer up, we overcame the problems as you can see when visiting the link. 🙂
And mobile is not all; the Q1 of 2013 was an intense period for Help Center with some other major releases:
The other noteworthy one was the migration of United States help center to the new platform based on HCCMS (Help Center CMS – a Joomla based CMS plugin developed in house) and Help-Center 2 (frontend solution based on Zend). The migration process involved moving data from Sybase to MySQL and XSLT based content migration. We had the chance to apply the lessons learned and the experience from the migration of German market, so it was a lot easier.
US Help Center frontend is available at – http://help.1and1.com/
Stay tuned, there’s more to come:
Right now we are preparing United States mobile version, based on a last minute change to the roadmap after the release. Mobile seems to create addiction. J
The experience gained on the US and DE markets will soon be used for the migration of old Help Centers from the France and United Kingdom markets.