CASE STUDY: hi5: Thinking Outside the Browser Box with Social Games

By HTMLGoodies Staff  |  eMail Email    Print Print  

by Justin Garrett, Senior Product Manager, Internet Explorer

hi5 wants to their keep customers connected with friends and content at all times.  By taking advantage of a new set of tools with Internet Explorer 9 and Windows 7, hi5 extended social gaming beyond the browser with new Pinned Site features:

hi5 also saw some results that were a good indicator their customers are responding to the experience.  They found that:

  • Overall, users viewed 15% more pages on-site, progressing deeper into the experience
  • When user pinned the site, they responded to 200% more social requests (like new friends, game invites, and messages)

See the video featuring Kate Pietrelli, Marketing Director at hi5 shares why it’s significant for them.  You can take advantage of pinning features in 15 minutes of dev time by going to BuildMyPinnedSite.com.   


More like Native Apps

Developers at hi5 evaluated Pinned Sites features for how simple it was to design with them and their value to make their social games feel more like an app.  Because hi5 works with many game vendors, they also wanted features they could quickly extend to their network.  A customer that pins a few of her favorite games has more ways to interact with hi5 than ever before.

The team learned about Pinned Sites through the MSDN Pinned Sites DevCenter and IETestDrive, which provided demos and code samples.  Producing the icons took the most time because they wanted to create a unique experience.  Development with the Pinned Site APIs and new Built-In F12 Developer Tools was easier.  Developers especially liked their ability to produce desktop integration with the hi5 site and games.  It gave them a level of control that they previously didn’t have.

hi5 in IE9

hi5 enabled social gaming experiences to occur outside the browser, where users spend the other half of their time.  IE9 Pinned Site features gave them a presence in the entire PC:


hi5 Social – The hi5 branded Pinned Site experience is the launch portal for staying connected socially.  A notification flashes when an important event happens (e.g. new friend request, invitation to join a game, or new gift from someone). The Jump List dynamically updates so users can see what they’re missing and dive right in.


In-Game Experience – The scenario extends beyond the social networking and into the games themselves. Now a user can pin their favorite game to their taskbar. The popular Millionaire City is all about becoming the richest real estate tycoon on the web, but you lose cash fast if you don’t return to the game frequently to maintain your investments. The pinned site experience notifies you when you need to collect rent, if your tenants are moving away, or if you have a new business partnership. It pulls you back into the action and helps you maximize your gaming time.


Summary & Next Steps

hi5 saw the opportunity to extend social gaming beyond the browser.  By designing their site and their social games with Pinned Sites, they customer engage more deeply and interact more socially.

Customer Value Results:

  • Overall, users viewed 15% more pages on-site, progressing deeper into the experience
  • When user pinned the site, they responded to 200% more social requests (like new friends, game invites, and messages)

 Site Experience Benefits:

  • Pull users into the hi5 site directly through social events and updates
  • Give web-based games their own personalized experience
  • Make games more social by bringing the offline and online experiences together
  • Increase how much time a user spends in the game

Ready to Develop?


Check out hi5 in IE9 and see how Pinned Sites works with social games. For Developers, the MSDN DevCenter for Pinned Sites has code samples, technical docs, and APIs.

More Resources:

 Mentioned in this Case Study:

For More information




hi5 is a social gaming and entertainment destination site that provides millions of users worldwide with engaging content designed to ignite social play. Their focus is on delivering a fun, interactive, and immersive social entertainment experience online to audiences around the world.

Microsoft Windows Internet Explorer 9


Start Building for a More Beautiful Web.  You are the designers, architects, and visionaries of the web. Our goal is to give you the tools you need to build richer, more immersive websites. This Case Study is one of many that illustrates a great site experience optimized for IE9.  Discuss and engage more on this topic through the Exploring IE Blog or by @IE on Twitter

This article was reprinted with permission from Microsoft Corporation. This site does business with Microsoft Corporation.


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