Publishing for the Mobile – Dos and Don’ts

May 1st, 2019

We’re not just dependent on our smartphones, we’re downright addicted to it. So much so that a term has been coined for the fear of being without a phone or being unable to use it for some reason! In fact, this term – Nomophobia – was crowned “Word of 2018” by Cambridge Dictionary. It’s a phenomenon that most of us can relate to.

Smartphones have penetrated every aspect of our lives, from waking us up in the morning to giving us traffic updates and from providing entertainment to remind us to drink water! No wonder then that the global mobile population reached close to 5 billion in 2018. That’s 66% of the world’s total population!

We spend more than five hours a day on our smartphones and 70% of web traffic originates from mobile devices. This trend is expected to only grow, with global mobile data traffic projected to increase threefold between 2018 and 2021.

Give Your Content the Power to Go Anywhere

Given the mobile phone usage trends and projections, ensuring your content is available on mobile phones is a no-brainer. But is that enough? Can you simply have the same content for desktops, laptops and smartphones? Unlike what most companies believe, the answer doesn’t lie in ensuring your content is mobile friendly. The need of the hour is to have a mobile-first strategy.

So, whatever information a company wishes to disseminate through eBooks, eJournals, digital catalogs and more, the mobile publishing platform should be the primary touchpoint to consider. It allows companies to gain the much-needed competitive edge and deliver engaging and interactive content to the audience.

Mobile content can only be monetized when publishers/companies have quality content on every channel. The mobile market is quite patchy due to the abundance of different channels to reach people. The one constant here is that content consumers like to receive information through pictures and videos. If you’re completely new to publishing online, keep these dos and don’ts in mind to make sure that the content that is being published is not lost in a sea of competition.

The Dos & Don’ts of Mobile Publishing

Visitors spend less than 12 seconds on a website before switching to a different site. If that sounds aggressive, these figures are for desktop browsing. Mobile users spend less than 6 seconds on a site! That’s all the time you have to grab attention. So, it’s important to bear in mind these dos and don’ts of mobile publishing.

dos and don't of mobile publishing

Dos

Keep orientation in mind: Check that your content looks good in both portrait and landscape orientation. Content should be optimized to fit different screen sizes and orientation in order to ensure a superior mobile user experience.

Leverage different capabilities of mobile phones: Interactivity of your mobile content can be enhanced by using other phone capabilities, like the camera, sensors and vibrators.

Make the content responsive: Around 45% of American smartphone users have an Apple iPhone. Globally, Android has a 75% market share. A lot of people prefer using Windows phone for work purposes. Your mobile publishing endeavors must take into account different operating systems.

Personalize the experience: Providing users with customized and personalized experiences is key to mobile publishing. Smartphones know the location of the user. You could consider serving region-specific content to different users. One can also tailor interactions according to the user’s unique preferences and usage patterns. This helps in enhancing user experience and engagement.

Focus on interactivity: Ensure the fonts being used are functional, practical and appropriate for viewing on an iOS or Android device. Owing to the on-the-go nature of mobile devices, the chosen font and type style should make for easy skim reading, while also being suitable for longer reading sessions. Never use fonts that are condensed or too fine. Such fonts are not only difficult to read on the mobile, but also result in a poor user experience.

Be proactive about readers coming back for more: With mobile publishing, it’s possible to It is also advised to collate collect user data and compile user profiles to deliver personalized notifications to each user based on their interests and usage behavior. This is a great way to keep users coming back to the app.

Keep a close eye on the metrics: The main reason for shifting from PDF to using digital assets is the ability to keep a tab on real-time metrics. With digital assets, it’s possible to get different data points, like what content is working for the audience and what isn’t. With such information, one can iterate, modify, and plan future mobile publications.

To maintain user engagement, it is important to keep the content updated. Also, make use of multimedia. Given that 90% of the information processed by the brain is visual, it’s a good idea to combine text-based content with engaging images and videos. Finally, use transitions, such as ‘related’ content, to ensure that users do not experience a dead end. This promoted continued engagement, without overwhelming users with too many options.

Don’ts

Produce only a PDF or flipbook: With a majority of the global online traffic originating from a mobile device, optimization of mobile content needs to become a priority. PDFs offer a poor user experience on mobile, despite which many companies still use this format to send important proposals and sales brochures. Using online interactive content is the need of the hour, as it ensures that every item shared looks beautiful and is responsive to different devices. Consider converting PDFs to ePubs and use the IDPF defined ePub 3 format if you are an ebooks, journals or magazine publisher.

Neglect audience behavior and preferences: The market segment and audience serve as the key measuring tools to estimate the publishing success of any business. Ignoring their feedback wouldn’t hold you in good stead in the long run. Instead, look out for what is working well with the audience and what improvements they’d like to see. And, then fine-tune the content to meet business objectives.

Don’t make content laborious to read: Ensure your text is easy to read. Avoid stuffing it with jargon or complex, long-winding sentences. Remember to give visual breaks, with shorter paragraphs and bulleted lists. Make it easier for readers to find what they want by incorporating subheadings. Use all forms of content, including text, videos, infographics and appealing creatives.

Presume an app is the answer: Developing a mobile app is challenging and getting enough number of people to download and use it regularly is an even more daunting task. Almost 30% of people uninstall an app within 30 days. Due to this trend, many publishers end up investing heavily in developing a mobile app without the certainty of adequate monetary returns. So, rather than getting an app developed, focus on creating experiences for your audience

Digital publishing in the future will look nothing like the publishing of years gone by. Today, mobile apps are already providing an interactive and engaging way to communicate with the target audience. The integration of artificial intelligence, data tracking, and new tools are making mobile publishing increasingly powerful. Publishers need to be prepared for these changes and adopt the latest technological innovations to remain competitive.

MagicBox was born in the Mobile age and has been designed for a mobile-first approach. MagicBox offers technology platforms that enable publishers to author, convert, deliver and track digital content for effective learning. It supports reflowable and fixed layout content and leverages the in-built features of mobile phones, like the dictionary and camera. While providing feature-rich platforms, MagicBox ensures privacy protection and provides a powerful DRM (digital rights management) to ensure the secure distribution and sale of digital content on mobile devices.

 

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