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One of the core principles that has guided IE9 is putting sites at the center. Users go to their browser to visit sites, not for the browser itself. The browser should give sites the tools to build more engaging user experiences without getting in the way.
Huffington Post is a leading social news and opinion site, "The Internet Newspaper." They want to serve their customers relevant and timely “Big News” content and get them engaged to respond through blogs and social posts. They have grown rapidly and reached 26M unique visitors in November alone.
They recently decided to reinvent their experience in IE9 and Windows 7 taking advantage of the Pinned Site features like Favicon, Notification, Jump Lists, and Thumbnail Preview. Here’s a video with Paul Berry, CTO of Huffington Post describing the approach they took:
Drilling into the experience, here is specifically what HuffPost did to reinvent their site with 1 Day, 1 Developer:
Step 1: HuffPost Look and Feel – HuffPost defined the navigation button colors, home page, window size, and tool tips using pinned site metadata. The browser does the rest of the work. A user accessing their favorite news section in HuffPost gets its own unique character.
Step 2: Let Your Users Know – HuffPost wants every IE9 user to pin their site. So they check when users have not pinned and prompt them to drag the tab to pin. They did this with just 15 lines of code. Users can now drag the tab to the Taskbar and start the Pinned Site experience.
Step 3: HuffPost on Every Taskbar – HuffPost wanted a brand experience that looked “clean and shiny” like an everyday part of their user’s experience. They designed 5 Favicons in X-Icon Editor with the branded colors of each news section (Breaking News, Politics, Business, Media, and Entertainment). Now a user can pin their favorite from the HuffPost directly to their Taskbar and jump directly into the experience with one click.
Step 4: Bring Them Back Again and Again! – News changes by the minute. When “Big News” hits, users want to know and HuffPost wants to bring users back to their site. Notification features including Custom Icon Overlay and Toolbar Flash grab the user’s attention directly on the Taskbar.
Step 5: Go Deeper with Jump Lists – HuffPost wants users to easily discover and dive into new site content. They do this using Dynamic Jump Lists which contain “hot” keywords like celebrity names, political opinion, or entertainment buzz. Each is personalized by news section and changes every 15 minutes. Users can quickly access the Jump List by right-clicking the Pinned Site.
Step 6: Go Social with Thumbnail Preview – HuffPost wants users to share their stories and interact. Now they can “Like” and “Tweet” with one-click Thumbnail Previews right from their Taskbar.
Ultimately, HuffPost measures success in terms of Customer Value against their Cost to Code. They concluded that Pinned Sites would:
Check out the Huffington Post in IE9 and see how Pinned Sites works with “Big News.” For Developers, the MSDN Pinned Sites Center has more resources including code samples, technical docs, and APIs.
Over the next few weeks, we will post other interesting web experiences that are showcasing what can be done with HTML5 and modern browsers.
That is pretty neat... But website pinning is about worthless now IMO.
@James, I have to disagree. Branded experiences are important to large sites like HuffingtonPost. I see Pinned Sites as the first step in moving favorites/feeds/webslices outside of the browser and integrating these with the OS in a more direct/organized way. In hindsight, thats probably the way it should have been done all along. Thats not say there are not issues or limitations to the current implementation...but there is potential here. The biggest issue I see is the limitation on the number of sites you can pin before your taskbar becomes overly busy. And secondly, I believe you have to have an active browser session open for dynamic jumplists to get updated. These are things I imagine will be addressed in the next release of Windows and/or IE.
Btw, I'm also a fan of HuffingtonPost's IE webslice...wish I could preview that from taskbar too.
@JohnCz It just seems like as the browser takes on more responsibility for everything, there is no reason to integrate with the OS in this manner as it could be done within the browser in nearly the same fasion.
@James, if you believe browser is taking on more responsibility "for eveything" shouldn't the OS tie into browser more closely. Thats what this is and I expect it be a trend that continues in Windows and IE vNext.
@JohnCz yes they will tie more closely but i think the browser will take more shell responsibility rather than the other way around.
Site pinning, or at least the idea behind it, is something I've been waiting for browsers to do for YEARS. I hated how running my browser felt almost like a virtual machine, a second OS I had to boot inside my main OS. I do more in my browser than all of my other applications combined. It's awsome how IE9 is finally integrating the two together. For a while Firefox had an extension that did something similar to site pinning (does it still have that?) and Chrome has a similar feature although in both cases they were very clunky. The fact that IE9 is the only browser right now showing a serious commitment to providing this kind of UI is easily the biggest reason why I'll probably continue using it for the forseeable future.
The pinned Huff Post all works well etc... its just a shame the font size gets mucked up. I have to do a CTRL + just to get the 'right font size' in IE9 meanwhile its the right/correct size straight away in Chrome.
@Glen Roberts - I am not seeing the issue with fonts. Can you please report a bug through Send Feedback or Connect. We'll have a look at it.