Mobile web design, User experience, Web performance

In 2010 we worked with “flash sale” retailer Hautelook to craft a mobile website optimized for everything from small-screen feature phones to the highest end smartphones—with a focus on high performance, scalability, and broad reach.

Reaching everyone

Hautelook came to us with an existing desktop site and a well-developed business. Every morning, Hauteloook members receive an email announcing new sales. Based on the email, a huge number of members visit the Hautelook site to check out the wares (fashion items) and buy them. The challenge was, first and foremost, that Hautelook’s website needed to work better on mobile devices—and not just the highest-end phones on the market (not every customer has the latest iPhone or Android handset).

We worked with Hautelook to design a mobile website using device detection, serving optimized content to different classes of mobile phones. To that end, m.hautelook.com can be used on everything from feature phones with screens as narrow as 128 pixels to high-end devices like the iPhone 4, with its retina display. Images are optimized for the device, and all users get a great experience. A better browsing experience translates into better business.

The crushing weight of flash sales

Every day at 8AM (Pacific), a new sale goes up and an announcement email goes out—and hordes of shoppers hit the site simultaneously. In order to meet this challenge, Cloud Four designed a high-performance backend infrastructure with multiple layers of caching, ultra-high-performance web servers, and a highly scalable server stack. You can read all about it at our blog. Using open source technology, we built a hosting environment that could withstand even the most intense bursts of traffic, keeping the virtual store open for business.

Taking the hosting in-house

One of Cloud Four’s core values is giving our customers every part of the work they pay for—including the source code. We don’t lock customers into any proprietary technology, and we deliver the source as part of project completion. So while we hosted and maintained m.hautelook.com for some time, eventually Hautelook wanted to take the hosting in-house. We happily handed over the keys: we decommissioned our servers and they set up their own. As a Cloud Four customer, you’re able to take your code with you…and we like it that way!

Further reading

Read about the Hautelook launch, plus an in-depth discussion of how we built an insanely scalable hosting platform.

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