When I'm mobile, don't give me what you give me on the desktop...?

Published 2011-07-18

A “six degrees of separation” database, nwsmkr will combine a journalist’s curated notes with public contributions & social APIs to visualize connections and distinctions between public figures, providing a new storytelling method for news organizations.


It's hot up here in Wisco. Well it's not so much the heat as it is the humidity. Hey, kind of like it's not so much the content as it is the mobility?

Because I've been thinking that not all content is created equal. And the dreams of a media organization being platform agnostic by pushing out the same content to multiple platforms -- something I wrote about -- are dreams that really ignore not only the unique strengths that mobile browser have versus their desktop counterparts, but really sets the organization up to cater to the lowest common denominator.

Now, most what follows rehashes plenty of thoughts and theory out there, but for me -- thinking in the context of the Mozilla-Knight Journalism Learning Lab and a "DRY" Approach to News -- I'm trying to come at the topic with a fresh set of eyes as I narrow down the possibilities.

So I'm torn on curating content for each platform, but what about this... What about two distinct user experiences with the same content? One is a research and digest experience, and the other is an active participant, collaborative experience.

So the default desktop browser experience is one of research-and-digest, but can easily turn into active participant if that is what you want to do. And on the mobile browser, since you are likely out and about, you get the active participant experience from the get go, but can switch over to a research-and-digest experience.

But what kinds of content would make sense to present in this manner. I keep coming back to archived info and topical data, and community listings and background.

For a news organization that content is relatively proprietary, easily mined and curated, and value routinely can be added by staff, a key component of bringing it out into the open.

This approach may also allow news organizations to consider two key questions when making decisions about strategic initiatives and development opportunities -- content verticals, technological platforms or online advertising methods:

But where does that leave me...? Did I say anything...? More importantly, did I get any closer to finding the problem to solve? Time will tell.

* - I'm torn on this... and it brought me to the idea of same content, different default user experiences... because in certain use cases, the bullet points could be swapped.