Creating a seamless experience to retain readers
It’s estimated that more than half of all adults and teenagers in the U.S. already own a smartphone and if you look around, this reality is only growing more apparent. In a doctor’s office waiting room, grocery store lines, bus stops, red lights and coffee shops – you see the same dialed-in expression on our faces – that attentive gaze angled down at our mobile devices as we feed our ravenous information appetite. On top of increased ownership of smartphones, both e-reader devices and tablets are on the rise, too. With mobile browsing consumption now at an all-time high, content must move that way as well. Publishers must do whatever it takes to make content universally mobile-friendly for users on the go.
Although mobile internet usage is expected to overtake desktop browsing by 2014 and is set to continue increasing by 66% annually down the road, growing mobile trends shouldn’t force an entire audience or user-base into the same box. Users should be given options that fit their mobile behavior. Publishers must acknowledge that although there is a shift in how and where users consume content, it’s unfair to assume that all users will consume content in identical ways.
That being said, traditional desktop browsing isn’t a dying breed like print journalism and certainly shouldn’t be treated like it. I imagine some content consumers solely use desktop browsers as their main source and plan on sticking to it. While on the other hand, some brands will want to get with the roughly 31% of smartphone owners who consume all content solely from their mobile device. Whether users prefer to browse content via unique native applications, mobile-optimized sites, or traditional desktop layouts, the experience should have a seamless balance no matter the device.
Depending on our mood, location and what screen we’re looking at, users should be encouraged to choose any of the browsable methods without running into significant dead ends. There is nothing worse than having a functionality roadblock when taking an article from a desktop browser to a mobile browser only to meet with an error screen. What is the best solution? Perhaps publisher platforms that allow users to log-in to one solitary account, gaining universal access to all information inside, regardless what device is being activated. This plays out similarly to how iTunes uses cloud-networking to sync music throughout all devices using one standard Apple ID as the fingerprints to mimic the same experience either at home or out on the go.
Publishers hosting their own mobile application have the opportunity to provide this experience of a seamless universal connection on any device, bringing options to the table for changing mobile behavior. In a perfect world, users can log-in from any device and witness their individual accounts updated with the latest relevant content, personalized for their interests. The experience should run like a car – although there are many engines potentially at play, it should require one key to start it up.