Tablets are quickly becoming another popular platform for consumers to get their news. A recent study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism identified that 22% of US adults own a tablet and of that group, 64% get their news on the tablet. Furthermore, they identified that of the US adults who get their news on a smartphone and tablet – that they are more engaged with the news, read more news on those devices and are more likely to pay for news content:
They are more likely to read deeply (fully 82% sometimes or regularly read in-depth articles on their tablet compared with 62% of those who get news on just the tablet), to send or receive news through email or social networks and to read past issues of magazines. And, while the numbers are still small, dual-device mobile news user are also more likely than others to have paid for digital news content.
There is a great opportunity in using the tablet platform. News organizations can reach their audiences with a different news experience than what they may currently provide in print, online or on the smartphone.
This past week, Poynter announced some findings from their latest eyetracking study on how news consumers interact with and read news content on the tablet. Interaction, design, pacing and presentation are crucial elements to designing the right tablet experience for the news consumer. Some of the highlights included: swiping is key for the tablet experience, the horizontal or landscape view is preferred, people looked at an average of 18 items before deciding on what news content to delve into, and people spent a minute-and-half reading the first news article on the tablet. These are just a few of the findings from the study, more details can be found in the Poynter article.
These studies demonstrate that we are at the tip of the iceberg in understanding what the tablet platform can do for the journalism industry and how it can transform a news experience for the reader.
This week the Hub explores the world of the tablet and how news organizations can create unique storytelling experiences via the tablet. A good starting point is taking a look at a recent book published by Dr. Mario García, CEO/Founder of García Media who launched an ebook entitled, “iPad Design Lab.”
For any news organization seeking to develop news content for the tablet platform, his book is a must-read. The ebook evokes a multimedia experience from the first page with a video introduction by García that follows throughout the rest of the ebook with several videos, audio clips and other interactive moments.
The book features nine chapters that cover the topics of storytelling, navigation, look and feel, pop-ups, advertising, economics, and much more as it relates to the tablet platform.
Throughout the book, García emphasizes that we should not let our focus get taken away by the platform but think about the story first and foremost.
The ebook also includes interviews with experts from the news and design industry. Each chapter features a key takeaway that readers can come away with. In addition, he also highlights several examples of news organizations from around the world that are doing some unique work with the tablet that can be an inspiration to any news organization deciding to take a step into the tablet waters.
Key Highlights from García’s book
The Hub has some key highlights from García’s book when it comes to designing a tablet edition:
- Swiping is preferred over scrolling
- Identify what makes your publication unique and different – identify the “DNA of your publication” that can be reflected in your tablet edition.
- Think about editioning – the tablet can showcase multiple curated editions daily rather than performing constant updates to news content.
- Think about pop-ups – those are the opportunities to create more engagement and interactivity with the reader. García refers to pop-ups in the tablet as those items that allow the reader to touch and be surprised as they go from screen to screen. Pop-ups can include a simple clip that plays a video or audio piece to more advanced options such as interactive graphics. Furthermore, pop-ups are those opportunities to provide more information, multimedia, animation and context for the reader.
- There are a variety of ways to tell the story on the tablet. Story structures you can explore range from the compact story to the interview to mini stories or the grand pop-up.
- Navigation is important for the tablet. Designers must be aware of the different ways people will explore the tablet edition and consider unique interface elements ranging from the carousel to the pop-up menu to signposting.
- Splash screens are also crucial for the tablet. They set the tone for the reader’s experience. There are several options for splash screens ranging from featuring just the logo to the preliminary interface.
- Advertising on the tablet. There are many advertising options for the tablet version ranging from the sponsorship ad to the vertical ad to the strip, to the advertising suite (a mini-website that is contained with the screen).
- Money can be made via the tablet. It’s important to know who your audience is and who comes to your site now using a tablet. This can provide insight into what kind of news content to feature on the tablet and how to monetize it. García suggests a few different approaches: subscriptions, “tabletizing” rich content you own and bringing back formerly published titles.
These are just a few highlights from the book. There are many nuggets of information in this ebook that can inspire you and your news staff to think of different ways to create your own tablet edition and offer up a truly unique news experience for your readers.