Ready-to-Wear Content: Google Glass and Other Devices Provide New Opportunities for Publishers

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Wearables may look like tantalizing new tools that can immediately boost revenue streams, but content providers need to do their homework before trying any new technology on for size, say the experts.

Jason Thibeault, senior director of marketing strategy at Limelight Networks in Tempe, Ariz., says content providers first need to determine if it's possible to condense and transform what they currently offer to make it relevant to wearable users. "Few Google Glass users will want to read full-length articles in their field of vision," says Thibeault. "Rather, content may need to transform to Twitter-like nuggets or always be delivered to these audiences in video format. These technologies force content into bite-sized pieces. That means that producers will need to learn how to rethink packaging and how they can get the same messaging and information across in a smaller form factor."

Papermaster concurs that it's crucial to be prepared to offer small-burst content. "The content should be consumable, applicable, and actionable at key times and in places that were previously unavailable-such as when someone is running, playing sports, or walking through a mall or stadium," says Papermaster. "Providers should anticipate making their products and services relevant and available to people ‘in the moment.'"

Digital publishers will need to incorporate more contextual awareness into their content as well. "They can't deliver everything, such as all the content on a website. They will need to tailor it to what's important-not only to the user's preferences but also to their location," Thibeault says. "They also need to incorporate behavior analysis technologies, which means understanding [where] devices requests are coming from and beginning to optimize their content for different devices."

That starts with mobile phones. "Get that right first. Then, as wearables grow in popularity, publishers will be ready to make subtle tweaks to deliver their content to the wearable market," says Thibeault.


In addition, content providers need to be aware that consumers will likely have high expectations for wearable performance than they do for other portable devices.

"That's because the time window for a user to engage or interact with content will probably be much smaller," Thibeault says. "Publishers need to take steps now to improve the performance of their content for these highly specialized devices."

When considering how to adapt content to wearables, publishers need to continue to make the distinction between immersed reading and at-a-glance reading.

"The paradigm of getting mostly headline news on your mobile device and reading more in-depth information on tablets will continue simply due to the size of the new wearable screens," Steve Matteson, creative type director at Monotype, headquartered in Woburn, Mass., says. "Navigation, headlines, social media, contacts lists, etc., will be more accessible in wearable displays, but the larger tablet format will still be necessary for reading."

Additionally, "[G]ood writing is more important now than ever. A well-crafted headline will win over the reader who is constantly bombarded with information," says Matteson.

Publishers today also need strong user experience and development capabilities to keep up with the Joneses. "Ask how should your content be programmed, and if you have a developer on staff who can work that into your CMS for you," Riley says. "On some devices, people won't be able to click the existing links to your related content, so how will you get them there?"

Manish M. Shah, president of AcceleWeb in New York City, recommends that digital publishers and their programmers/engineers begin playing with the current crop of wearable computers and experimenting with various product ideas. "Those who come early to the game will have a better idea about what is possible and what works for users," says Shah. "Plus, they'll be able to give their engineering team experience in developing wearable computers so that they are more efficient over time in product delivery than their competitors."

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