Poynter's Damon Kiesow has decided that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was right to comment that the iPad was "not mobile." Using his recent interaction with the 60 Minutes iPad app as an example, Kiesow explained why the experience was leisurely, but definitely not mobile.
"If you were so inclined, it would be easy to spend an hour just browsing through old interviews with a current or former president," Kiesow said. The content you find on the iPad app would not work on a smart phone, he believes, but "is a much better fit" with the "more relaxed pace of a tablet session."
He believes that most other major media apps are not mobile either, and that they might not be trying to be. And indeed, the idea that news organisations are focusing on providing an immersive experience on the iPad would suggest that they are not focusing on the on-the-go reader.
A recent graphic by the Wall Street Journal, based on ComScore data, showed that iPad reader read most news on the device in the evenings, and although there is also a rise in the morning, this implies that people are using the device most to read news in their leisure time a the end of the day. Smartphones do not seem to be used in this way, with their peak share of traffic taking place at around 8 to 9am.
Building different apps that target these different groups of readers therefore seems imperative for news publishers. iPad apps have the potential to offer the most 'print-like' experience, but supplemented with the most innovative multimedia content. The device, targeted at consuming media, is perfect for slideshows or video content, and as a leisure device this visual content can be long. Smartphones, on the other hand, are multi-purpose devices and although they may well be used on a long commute, many users will read news for just a few minutes at a time. Audio content is maybe as much or more useful than video content.
The debate about different devices is highly relevant, and they offer exciting opportunities for news organisations. But it is necessary to remember that these devices still have limited news traffic. The WSJ graphic shows that 97% digital newspaper reading still takes place on computers. So, while it is essential for news organisations to pay considerable attention to how they can best present their content on various the devices which seem to offer interesting potential revenue streams, they must be careful not to neglect their website offerings.
One organisation which is experimenting with presentation in the web field is the Center for Public Integrity. Its new HTML5-based platform allows its latest investigative reporting project to be viewed as a smooth 'app-like experience' online or on any mobile or tablet browser. Will more such initiatives appear?