In just delivered SNDS Magazine (#4 2012) I have an article about the research project för tablets at Poynter Institute. You can read the article below, or you can read the entire magazine here. The Magazine includes reports from the SNDS workshop in Copenhagen and the SND workshop in Cleveland.
Here are also some postings at my other web page:
WHY? (About a new newspaper project, se next line)
[From SNDS Magazine 4/2012]
No new medium kills another medium
- Storytelling comes first.
- New ways to create breaking news.
- Most readers prefer landscape orientation in the tablet.
That’s the conclusions from design guru Mario Garcia after 18 month with the tablet Eye track research at Poynter Institute.
Mario Garcia also states that “No new medium kills another medium”. Although he is very clear about that the old media will go thru major changes to be able to survive.
If you know your media history, you’ll have to give him right.
The radio was supposed to kill the newspapers.
The television was supposed to kill the newspapers and the movie theaters.
The web was supposed to kill the entire newspaper industry.
It did not happen.
But the tablets will finally kill newspapers?
“No” says Mario Garcia. “People will still read newspapers, but not on a daily base. Newspapers will change format, they will no longer be published every day of the week and they will convert to another type of content.”
Story telling comes first
“I hate when publishers say that their strategy is ‘digital first’. The platform is secondary. Story telling comes first, regardless of the publishing channel”, says Garcia.
One of the facts which convinced him that the printed news will survive is that the consumption of news has increased dramatically.
Earlier a normal newspaper was read about 25-30 minutes. Today we spend 69 to 90 minutes with news in different channels. And more and more people read in depth stories, some times starting on one platform and finishing on another.
The Eye track research on iPad shows that the reading are similar between tablets and newspapers. It is “laid back” reading. Reading on the computer are more active and “leaning forward” reading.
But the digital media will change the way we publish news. A new structure of news will be needed.
“The old way to write a good news story was to always answer the questions ‘who, what, when and where’. I don’t know if the journalist schools teach that any more. But the new way to publish a story is very different,” Garcia says. “It is the way from tapas to the full meal”.
The story can start as an alert on the mobile phone, often in Twitter.
Then a headline and 2–3 sentences.
Then a new headline and some paragraphs.
Then maybe a photo and some more information.
And so on …
This eye track research used three different prototypes with different design; Traditional, Carousel and Flipboard.
Fifty percent of the readers preferred the carousel design. The visual impact in that design made it easier to choose which story to read.
70 percent expressed a preference for reading the tablet in horizontal or landscape orientation. But people looked at average 18 options before choosing a story.
Garcia commented on that: “I have been at six other focus groups about tablet reading, there 90 percent preferred landscape mode for reading at the tablet. And non of my clients right now would like to do apps in portrait mode. So I think that this will be a kind of global standard.”
“As with earlier eyetracking studies, people tended to enter a screen through a dominant element, generally a photograph. Faces in photographs and videos attracted a lot of attention”, writes Sara Quinn, teacher at Poynter Institute, in a presentation at poynter.org.
She also points out that the new element in design for tablets are the touch of our fingers.
“The touching behavior was one of the most intriguing findings in Poynter’s new research on tablet storytelling. It’s one of many that can help us define how people want their news.”
Readers go deeply into stories when they have made their choice. But after 80-90 seconds there are a critical “bail out point”, when many readers leave the story. So, hands on advice to news designers are to create quotes or other elements in that part of the text, to make the readers stay.
Non daily evening papers
Mario Garcia has a clear formula for the newspapers that will try to stay in business. In one of his latest blog posts he develop his thoughts:
Forget “daily”, and disregard “morning”. Think “less frequent” and “evening”. IF this sounds like putting aside all that we have ever known to work for people and how they get their information, then that’s exactly the point.
Read the post at www.garciamedia.com
The three prototypes for the tablet eye track research.
Illustration by Poynter.org