Many voices in the media industry have hailed HTML5 as a solution for media companies to be compatible on many devices at once. The latest publisher to invest in the standard for Web design is Hearst Digital Media, which just relaunched Good Housekeeping as its first website built on HTML5 technology.
“This creates for us for the first time a site that is truly multi-platform,” Mark Weinberg, Hearst Digital Media's vice president of programming and strategy, said at the Hearst Tower in New York on Tuesday. The Good Housekeeping site can be accessed on iOS, Windows and Android tablets and smartphones, making it easier for shoppers to access the site's product-related content on the go, he noted.
The site forms the basis of Hearst's strategy to update its 28 other websites over the next 16-18 months. “This project allowed us to create a number of templates and code base that we can apply to future redesigns and upgrades,” he said.
While Hearst plans to continue to roll out native apps, Weinberg said HTML5-based sites add more “fluidity between apps and websites.” For example, apps can easily launch links in a more mobile-friendly site. Features such as the touchscreen-enabled player will show up on more Hearst sites.
This latest investment is another step in Hearst’s mobile strategy. Last year, Hearst Executive and GM John Loughlin
spoke of the opportunity to leverage the browser-based Web in addition to launching apps about everything from recipes to digital editions.
Will HTML5-enabled websites make a separate mobile site irrelevant? Not necessarily, as Weinberg noted consumers still have a certain expectation on screens. (A consumer wants load times and design streamlined for a smartphone, for instance.) Good Housekeeping’s mobile site
is a “lighter version” of the regular site, Weinberg said.
The new site also allows advertisers to buy specific positions in mobile, i.e. banners for the iPhone and Android, Weinberg said.
A new look for an old product
The root of Good Housekeeping’s website is the Good Housekeeping Research Institute, the magazine’s extensive product testing laboratory, in which staff thoroughly review everything from electronics to cleaning supplies in order to determine what will get the famous Good Housekeeping Seal of approval.
The new site features a database of the more than 1,200 product reviews (with more added monthly), where users can search for specific items. Other updated and new interactive tools include a “Kitchen Magician” and “Stain Buster” tool, which are easier renditions of old tools on the site.
Getting more social
In addition to improving the presentation of product research, the revamped site incorporates more social media — a growing source of traffic to the site, Weinberg said. (Overall, GoodHousekeeping.com has enjoyed traffic increases across the board, coming from search, social, syndication partners and newsletters, he said.)
Good Housekeeping demonstrates how media companies can take a wealth of information from an old brand and translate it to new platforms so that users can more easily find, share and purchase products via any device. Is this where more publishers should be headed?