Optimizing content for a superior mobile experience

By Dan Franklin, Segment Manager, Commerce, Verizon EdgeCast

90% of consumers move between multiple devices sequentially to accomplish their goals, according to the Google New Multiscreen World 2013 report.

For websites that means: optimizing content for all mobile platforms and screen dimensions is not an option; it is a crucial requirement for creating immersive web experiences for users.

However, with a variety of mobile devices being released each year, it becomes almost impossible to accommodate for all new and already existing screen sizes and operating systems.

That’s why Verizon Digital Media Services now offers Mobile Device Detection as part of its Rules Engine (within the Optimize suite). Designed to allow for highly granular control over how, when and even if your content is served, the Rules Engine is based on the concept of simple “if-then” style conditional logic.

This gives our customers easy access to important datasets at the edge and allows for the inspection and adaptation of any component of an incoming HTTP Request and the HTTP Response.

How the Rules Engine and Mobile Device Detection Work

A rule is based on the concept of simple “if-then” style conditional logic and is composed of a match (condition) and a feature (or features) to be applied if the match condition is met. Rules allow for the adaptation of any component of an incoming HTTP Request and the HTTP Response including URLs, filenames, query string values, cookies, TTLs, response codes and more. Mobile Device Detection is a set of matches and features available within the Rules Engine.

Features of Mobile Device Detection

  • Determine vendor, model and operating system of devices accessing a site in order to serve device-specific content
  • Understand screen dimensions and various hardware attributes to take advantage of the latest technologies
  • Potential for JavaScript and HTML5 support to allow for more feature-rich content
  • Discern various media attributes to allow for better performance and improved experience

Benefits of Mobile Device Detection

  • Improve response times for detection and redirection without having to go back to origin
  • Offloads processing from origin-side resources
  • Enhance performance for mobile users by serving preformatted, device-specific content from the edge
  • Enhance the user experience by providing compelling mobile content and interactions
  • Avoid costs of re-coding and maintaining systems with the introduction of new devices
  • Leverages commercial, industry-leading, and continuously updated device detection and attribution data.

Capabilities of Mobile Device Detection

Device Detection will have a number of attributes for mobile device enablement. These will range from the brand name of the device — Apple, Samsung, etc. — to various device characteristics such as operating system and screen size.

Some examples of capabilities include:

  • Operating system and version, such as iOS or Android
  • Browser information and version, such as Safari or Chrome
  • Screen height and width, expressed in pixels
  • Preferred markup language support, such as HTML or WML

Use Cases for Mobile Device Detection

Site owners will now be able to better understand the different mobile devices accessing their sites and properly display content based on that device. Some uses would involve redirecting users from a desktop version of a site to a mobile version of a site, rendering different video formats based on the accessing device, and displaying different content based on the screen size of a device.

Use Case: Identify mobile devices and tablets accessing a site and redirect to a mobile-specific version of the site.

Examples: iPhone/iPad (iOS), Samsung Galaxy (Android), Nokia (Windows)

Details: Mobile devices may have slower connections, smaller screens or lesser capabilities than a desktop machine. Not all mobile devices support Flash content, for example. Mobile sites generally serve fewer and smaller images.

Result: Mobile device users are redirected to an m.customer.com site, a cookie can be set to force the mobile version and users see content formatted for their specific devices.

Click here to learn how Verizon Digital Media Services’ Device Detection helps Refinery29 to improve the user experience for its millions of mobile users.

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