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Posts Tagged ‘layout’

Pitchfork Gets Immersive with Daft Punk in New Feature

Next week, the musical world will experience a huge event: eight years after their last album, master of dance music Daft Punk will drop their much-hyped album, Random Access Memories. Music website Pitchfork has honored that with an amazing, immersive feature that evokes the immersive nature of the buzzy New York Times piece, “Snowfall.”

Offering a rare glimpse into the largely private world of Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, and it achieves it best with strong visual elements that only new media can provide. Taking advantage of HTML5 and GIFs, the layout of the piece flows smartly and shows a lot more editorial flair than the standard feature.

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Gawker’s Kinja Platform: Please Don’t Make Me Blog for You

It finally happened. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a bit of a Gawker groupie and I’ve been waiting for the rollout of Kinja on all of their sites. Not because I am an avid commenter (that requires more dedication than I can give), but because I wanted to see how it was going to work from the sidelines. I have mixed feelings.

 1) Mobile Layouts 

I know that everyone keeps saying that mobile is the future, and it is, of course. Fine. But I still don’t know how I’m supposed to work on a tablet. The old Gawker layout was optimized for a desktop experience, with the main blog post and a scroll down menu of new and trending posts. You could pick and choose, hop around the site before getting back to whatever you were avoiding before you came to Gawker in the first place.

The new Kinja layout is clean, sleek and modern. Everything you want a digital experience to be — except that you have to scroll around too much. I find myself reading many of the blurbs without actually clicking on a story. And when you do click into a story, that’s it. You have to work to browse. 

On a tablet, the Kinja reading experience makes more sense. Video and ads and posts all come together in one, non-annoying, continuous roll. My reaction to reading the new Gawker on my laptop is the first time I ever felt old. And why can’t you Tweet single posts? What’s the deal, Denton?   Read more

Tips To Define Your Newsroom’s Mobile Presence

By 2014, mobile Internet is poised to take over desktop Internet usage. With smartphones and tablet devices like the iPad penetrating the mobile market, media consumption was at an all-time high in 2010 and is on a steady increase. A recent study from the Pew Internet & American Life Report shows that 26% of American adults get some form of news via their cell phone, with cell users under 50 almost three times as likely as their older counterparts to get news on the go. With numbers like these, the growth of mobile Internet is driving companies to take a long, hard look at their current digital strategies and put mobile first.

We’ve reported here on 10,000 Words about ways to create a mobile version of your website, and even spotlighted 15 well-designed iPad news applications and 21 iPhone-friendly news sites, but the work of creating a mobile application (or mobile website) for your news organization is less about aggregating current content and more about developing an information workflow based on the device and on how people use that device. Here are a few basic principles to have in mind when it comes to developing your mobile presence.

Keep It Simple

Because the screen size of mobile devices has a pretty wide range, it’s important to keep the interface of your mobile application or site as simple as possible. You don’t want to make it difficult for users to read the news if they’ve taken the time to download the application or navigate to your mobile site. Use a grid layout to logically organize headlines and stories, and allow enough space between links and modules to allow users to navigate without mistakenly clicking other links. For mobile websites, using responsive web design techniques allows for your layout to fit according to the dimensions and viewing orientation of the viewing device.

Reuters' iPad app has an easy to read grid layout with intuitive controls.

Reuters' iPad app has an easy to read grid layout with intuitive controls.

By contrast, The Associated Press' iPad app shows stories are that not aligned in a grid format, and the design is not clean and concise.

By contrast, The Associated Press' iPad app shows stories are that not aligned in a grid format, and the design is not clean and concise.

Keep Dual Orientation Support in Mind

When you are designing your mobile application or mobile website, you want to design for two different orientations — landscape and portrait. This is especially important for mobile applications. You don’t want elements of your app to disappear or lose prominence when you turn your device from one position to another. This goes for navigation as well — make sure that the type of navigation matches the orientation of the device once it’s rotated (horizontal for landscape, vertical for portrait)

Notice how the Rachel Maddow Show application has navigation controls at the top of the viewport, including a link to a Twitter Watch Party.

Notice how the Rachel Maddow Show application has navigation controls at the top of the viewport, including a link to a Twitter Watch Party.

In landscape mode, that navigation disappears. Where did it go?

In landscape mode, that navigation disappears. Where did it go?

Keep Flash at a Minimum

While there are mobile devices which can run Flash, using Flash should be avoided for both mobile sites and applications. For video, recent studies show that HTML 5 outperforms Flash on mobile devices. In case HTML 5 is not an option, offer streaming video options which utilize the device’s native video player. Streaming quality can change whether the user is on 3G or WiFi, so you will want to have a specific benchmark and format in mind for video delivery.

Notice the small video control on the thumbnail in the articles.

Notice the small video control on the thumbnail in the articles.

Splash pages are usually a no-no for mobile apps, but this splash page serves as a loading screen while the video buffers.

Splash pages are usually a no-no for mobile apps, but this splash page serves as a loading screen while the video buffers.

Keep Social Media and Sharing

Sharing content should be a key feature of any news mobile application or website. Users should be able to easily post news from your app or website to their social networks. If you include nothing else in your mobile presence strategy, make sure that sharing options and social media links are there.

On this app, the article can be shared via email, Facebook, Twitter, or Instapaper.

On this app, the article can be shared via email, Facebook, Twitter, or Instapaper.

These are just a few considerations news organizations should take into account when developing their mobile presence. What are some other things that should be taken into account? Leave your suggestions in the comments!