However, Belam, who is Principal Consultant at Emblem and former UX lead at the Guardian, he thinks it is only recently that “we have finally reached a tipping point in terms of mobile and tablet usage,” pointing out that 60% of traffic to the official Olympic games channels came from mobile devices.
His key advice to publishers seeking to improve their tablet and mobile offerings was:
- Watching user-testing sessions is crucial. It is easy to forget that not everybody understands as well as you do how devices work.
- It’s easy to create an app that does the job but much harder to create one that excites people
- Remember that you need to understand your users, not second-guess them
- Just because you are providing news on mobile devices, don’t assume that your audience is always running for the bus
- Remember that 41% of the time, users are only partially engaged
- Focus on doing one thing really really well – these are the apps that do well
- Make it easy for your content producers – when Belam was at the Guardian a fashion Tumblr was set up to make it easier for journalists to compete with bloggers
- Know your devices - where to put menus, for example - you app needs to fit with the device, even if that means inconsistencies between your different apps
- Know your competitors - make sure you are watching the right people and remember they are not always obvious
“Our audience has made the decision for us”, said Belam, “they've gone mobile first and we need to catch up to them.”