Mobile matters

After posting a summary of Johanna Vondeling's "top ten trends shaping the future of publishing", I am returning to each of the trends in separate posts appearing on Mondays for the balance of the summer.

Vondeling is Berrett-Koehler's vice president for international sales and business development. The fifth trend on her list, "Mobile matters", addressed the implications of data abundance for traditional publishers:

This year, the number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the world’s population. In 2012, mobile subscriptions in China surpassed 1 billion, and mobile Web users overtook people using PCs to access the Web. Millions of individuals in developing countries may never own a book or a computer, but they do own mobile phones.

Moving forward in “mobile optimization” requires conceiving and designing content explicitly for mobile devices. Every experience offered through digital channels—every Web page, shopping cart, and piece of rich content—must work well on any device in any location.

Customers generally understand that concessions need to be made for the smaller screen, touchscreen input, and slower speed, but they won’t accept what seems unnecessary hassle or delay. Apps are a part of today’s approach to mobile, but they are not a cure-all to this challenge, as use of the mobile Web increases daily.

Vondeling is wholly on target here. Content is a core part of an experience, and that experience is user-determined. A publishing model that continues to start with the idea that we fill containers or sell words is not going to survive.

About Brian O'Leary

Founder and principal of Magellan Media Consulting, Brian O’Leary helps enterprises with media and publishing components capitalize on the power of content. A veteran of more than 30 years in the publishing industry and a prolific content producer himself, Brian leverages the breadth and depth of his experience to deliver innovative content solutions.

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