Monday, April 15, 2013

Thinking Mobile: You Gotta Have Art

As news users, especially young ones, look more and more to their phones and tablets for content and less and less to websites, it's important to be conscious of the visual presentation on those mobile devices.

Just as text-heavy pages repel readers in print, a story list or layout on a phone or iPad makes it much less likely a given story is going to get read.

Here are two screen captures from this morning's version of The Orion app:

The competition for readers' eyes is not even close. The features staff has done a good job of making photo assignments or supplying their own images, so their presence on mobile apps is impressive.

A text-dominated page on a tablet is even more of a problem. Here's the same News line-up from this morning on an iPad:

Ugh! Even with the (very clever) G-spot headline, nothing on this page makes me want to click and read.

The easy solution, of course, is for every reporter to make it his or her personal mission to arrange
art for stories. The easiest art is the mugshot (which works really well at the bottom of the iPad page), but when even that's not possible, developing a graphic "bug" for stories works, too. At right is one I created for my website.
Finally, acquiring even the simplest editorial art takes planning. Photo, graphic or illustration assignments should be part of the discussion for every story during section meetings.

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