While tablets and smartphones offer a great opportunity to present content and drive engagement through unique, touch-enabled experiences, most publishers have failed to capitalize on this opportunity. Many are still grappling with how to best leverage tablets by approaching this new medium with more traditional strategies that just won't cut it on touch devices like the iPad, iPhone, Kindle Fire, and Android phones and tablets, where readers expect a very specific experience.
So how can publishers create fun and dynamic environments that harness all the power of touch technology and make an addictive experience for readers? Let's take a look at three common mistakes publishers make on tablets and how they can turn their strategies around.
One of the key mistakes publishers are making when optimizing their content for tablets and smartphones is reformatting their regular desktop displays and simply replacing the mouse with someone's finger. And many are doing this by using responsive design, but this one-size-fits-all strategy completely misses the opportunities that make touch screens so great.
We are no longer in a world where we need to point and click to get what we need. We now live in a world of touch, where people expect the ability to do things like swipe and pinch pages closed. Touch technology is made for displaying and interacting with great content, and by not taking advantage of this crucial functionality that's driving the popularity of tablets and smartphones, publishers are missing a great opportunity to boost engagement.
While responsive design has been embraced as the solution for optimizing mobile content, it presents a number of flaws. It treats everything as the same, resizes the content to fit different devices, and does not provide a different user experience to someone using a PC versus someone using a smartphone or seven- or 10-inch tablet. While responsive design is appealing in the promise of publishing the same website once for all devices, publishers need to understand that by not offering users touch features, like the ability to swipe from page to page or pinch content to close, they are leaving page views, time on site, and revenue on the table. As a publisher, you want to make sure you're taking advantage of touch and not just reformatting the content to make sure it fits the screen.
The Financial Times is a great example of a publisher that is embracing touch across all devices. Its tablet strategy is centered on HTML5-enabled web apps that bypass app stores entirely, enabling the majority of readers to access content through the browser. This is a smart strategy that brings us to the second mistake publishers make.
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