Today there is increasing buzz about the need for a proper mobile strategy for publishers. Just about every vendor or solution has their own version of how their product satisfies the mobile gap.
Just a few years ago, “mobile” meant that a basic mobile phone could easily view the publisher website. As smartphones advanced in their ability to browse web content, communicate, and provide content and shopping information they have become our personal “always on” mobile computer and communicators. Plus, modern mobile phones enabled users to have an html view of the web pages and not just the text or limited feed based presentation of the website page. So even non mobile optimized sites are viewable with pinch and zoom interactions.
Mobile web design now represents the ability to present information to many different devices and connect with your mobile audience, not just formatting content for “dumb phone” readability. A mobile strategy also needs to provide the publisher a comprehensive plan for both presenting content, communicating, interacting, and supporting the profitable publishing business model. And let’s not forget how important mobile is to our advertisers. Creating an environment that moves the website visitor to a purchase or inquiry action based on a search can ultimately apply to a much larger population than our connected audience. Commercial marketing firms have been guided by the need for mobile sites for several years now and we expect to have very good user experiences when visiting a retail company website.
And, publisher mobile friendly, optimized, or responsive design is now the standard for new publisher websites. The ability to easily read and scroll (especially tiled) content allows for users on all types of devices to view and interact with the publisher website content.
Magazine apps extend the ability to provide a smartphone or tablet user interface for a specific purpose or function. Apps for a publisher should focus on a niche asset or value that audience members want or need as a brand extension. An app just to view a magazine’s digital edition should probably be focused on placement into the Apple or Google Play newsstand or a top magazine newsstand delivery app like Zinio.
Digital editions still play a role in producing print layout paginated content deliverable that should certainly be leveraged digitally for print magazine publishers.
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