April 23, 2010 | Mobile Journalism
The mobile devices panel continued
Kinsey Wilson, of NPR fame.– NPR runs an open API process with their content, and receives over 50 million API requests per month.
– NPR is betting on Android and Apple to be the two main sources of apps, and the rest will be addressed on the mobile site. In other words, they’ve decided not to create anything for the BlackBerry, which has six different OS and gives too high a cost for creating quality experiences.
– The API has been used to let stations create a richer online experience, and eventually extend their content to the mobile devices.
– The use of the API for NPR content has resulted in rapid growth for the local stations using it.
Tom Bodkin, assistant managing editor and design director, The New York Times
– I had nothing to do with the quote about Demand Media Steven Kydd showed during his presentation.
– When you’re talking about mobile news, it’s important to make distinctions between the different categories of devices.
– Amazon Kindle: only black and white, navigation can be awkward.
– Mobile devices are impressive because of small sizes, but you can’t get a lot of detailed and rich visuals. They are efficient ways to consume news, though.
– The Times has an impressive real estate app.
– Tablet computers have the potential to change journalism, because they allow a return to storytelling while exploiting the incredible opportunities for display.
– Hopefully, the tablets will create a platform for more relaxed, but structured things we’re used to in traditional media.
– With the right technology, there’s no reason the positive experience of ink on paper can’t be replicated, while still using new technology to create interactivity.
– The Times Reader, developed a few years ago, is a Fujitsu tablet PC that can be flipped to turn into a touch screen tablet.
– The Times Reader is very simple, with little to distract the reader from the story at hand.
– The iPad app currently used by the Times is free and limited to a small selection of stories from 5 sections of the paper.
– The Times intends to extend availability of stories to the full paper, improve navigation, and start charging for the app.
– There are interstitial ads on the Times iPad app, much like in a magazine, and video is incredible.
– Bodkin hopes that with the right design, devices like the tablets can promote loyalty and devotion that traditional newspapers once saw, and thereby increase advertising revenue.
John-Henry Barac, digital designer and consultant to the Guardian (UK) for their iPhone app.
– Volcanic dust is a good reminder of the scale of the issues we’re facing with design on the touch interfaces.
– News websites are massive things with huge amounts of data. Some people have called them “black holes.”
– When you get to a news website, there’s so much there, so where do you go?
– With the Guardian iPhone app, the plan is to take the content and give the user a way to access it from the front.
– The Guardian website is heavily tagged with keywords, and that’s fundamental to looking at these kinds of sites on mobile devices.- The Guardian’s iPhone app sees usage spikes at 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.
– When Steve Jobs presented the iPad, he was sitting on a couch.
– The unique selling point of the Guardian iPhone app is the fantastic content.
– With touch, you interact with content intimately. You can actually grab news. It encourages people to be inquisitive.
– There’s a lot of exploring that needs to be done by designers, especially on moving from page to page. How do you handle the space on the iPad?
– Even with touch devices, you want to keep familiarity. The New York Times are successful with the swiping of pages. The USA Today is good, but has a few more problems.
– The NPR app was the most interesting one. They aren’t shackled by being a newspaper, so they have created an easier reading experience.