Over the past few months our team has been hard at work behind the scenes to completely rebuild Name.com one page at a time. Why? We want to give our customers the best user experience when searching for, buying, and managing domains … especially on mobile devices.
If you work on the web you’ve probably already noticed that smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices are taking over the world. In October 2014 the total number of connected mobile devices in the world grew to just over 7.2 billion—greater than the entire human population. These incredible devices empower users more than ever. They give us instant access to information, make it easy to interact on social media, and allow us to order domains and horse head masks over the internet.
Mobile traffic on the web has grown as well, from an average of about 1.56% of global web traffic in 2010 to over 33% in 2014. At the current pace, mobile web usage will overtake desktop usage sometime in early 2016. Here at Name.com we saw our own mobile traffic double in just the past two years, and we knew that we weren’t giving our mobile customers the best mobile experience.
Our primary business is providing domain names, and we knew we wanted to focus efforts and energy on our own website instead of spending resources on our aging and outdated native apps. We took a long hard look at what resources we had available and how we wanted to move forward as a company with our own mobile strategy. We decided that our best approach was a mobile-first responsive web design that would adapt to any device and work on any web connected platform.
— Jeffrey Zeldman (@zeldman) November 18, 2014
Name.com was originally built with—as software engineering director Dave McBreen calls it— “A beautiful table-based layout.” It was recently updated using the Bootstrap 2 framework for our front-end. It was a pretty easy decision to use Bootstrap 3 as our mobile-first responsive framework, but unfortunately, Bootstrap 3 is not backwards compatible with v2.x, so our team had to manually edit every page (close to 800 files) on our website and re-write the code to work with the new framework. It ended up being a really great exercise for us, since we were able to identify and clean out many old pages and resources that we no longer needed (and weren’t worth updating).
After a few months of scraping pages, writing and rewriting code, and testing the bejeezus out of the site, we finally pushed the full end-to-end mobile-optimized website out the door. If you’re visiting Name.com on a desktop size browser it might look the same as it did before, but if you’re on a mobile device or smaller screen you should see something a bit different that still feels like Name.com.
Is it perfect? Not even close. There’s still a few pages on our site that are in a separate legacy code base and need some extra attention before they become mobile-friendly. We know there’s still a lot we can do to make the Name.com better for our users and we are going to keep working on it. As technology continues to evolve and change, so will we. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll be implementing GPS-based domain searches or use cameras and sensors to find that perfect domain name. We’re already working on a few top secret projects that could make building your own website and managing your domains faster, cheaper, and easier than ever.
So go ahead and give it a spin on your mobile device or tablet and find that perfect domain you’ve always wanted. We’re here to help if you have questions at email@example.com or (720) 249-2374.
*Want to get more specific about the nitty gritty technical details? Send a tweet to @mrjonliu and I’ll do my best to answer any questions.