By now, as the saying goes, "there's an app for that," no matter what "that" might be. Although these on-the-go applications might have captured the imagination of an increasing number of U.S. mobile users, digital content creators are now looking to redefine, fortify, and even replace the app with more comprehensive mobile content delivery strategies that pack in additional relevance, context, real-time information, and functionality, without needing to rely on one OS or handset.
Consumers are becoming more accustomed to using their iPhones, BlackBerries, Android devices, or other smartphones for more than just making calls or texting. As they demand more from their personal phones, they're expecting equally forward-thinking enterprise content that can fulfill the new set of needs created by the devices. To find a solution, creators are starting to think critically about who's going to use the content, how and where they're going to consume it, and what the content's end mission may be.
Mobile strategists are also attempting to format content to take into consideration the latest developments and trends in an ever-shifting technological landscape. The early mobile chatter in the U.S. has focused on dominant platforms such as Research In Motion Ltd.'s BlackBerry OS and Apple's iOS, but that conversation is being changed quickly by the emergence of Google's Android OS and other challengers such as Nokia's Symbian OS, which commands the largest percentage of the global market despite being virtually unheard of in the U.S., according to October 2010 data from StatCounter Global Stats.
Designing suitable content for an increasingly diverse array of devices and platforms requires a comprehensive upfront strategy that brings together delivery and context to create more value for the user. In turn it creates more value for the company behind it, according to Peggy Anne Salz, chief analyst and founder of MSearchGroove.
"People shouldn't believe it's just another screen," Salz says. "You have to consider the experience. If we're going to be consuming content across time, space, and platforms, what are you going to do with the platform? You also have to think about how to slice and dice the content for various experiences-you can't just put all the content on mobile the same way it looks on the web site. You have to think about how people are going to want to interact with it."
Understanding the User
Without a keen understanding of who's consuming the content, companies can overwhelm users with too much clutter and too little integration between features and functions.
For Ian Rosen, global director of investment banking at News Corp.'s Dow Jones financial news service, the first step in launching the new Dow Jones Investment Banker (DJIBanker) news portal-a web-based portal through which users can access a compilation of news, research, opinion, and data visualizations-was getting down to the brass tacks of what bankers were looking for when they logged on between flights, before meetings, and from the other side of the globe.
"Bankers tend to be organized into coverage territory," Rosen says. "What they need to be able to do is target this information both proactively and reactively in a way that reflects their world views."
To accomplish this, DJIBanker uses layers of filters customized by the user to create a daily digest of editorial content and structured information that is directly relevant to the industries, geographic regions, and markets covered under that specific banker's beat. It has also incorporated features and functions geared to the distinct mobile habits of its users, particularly those in the fast-growing, highly mobile Asian markets, where DJIBanker launched in late 2010.