10 ways reading a newspaper is not reading a mobile article

I am a big fan of the mobile web strategy at ESPN. I have a home page icon that takes me straight to their mobile optimized site. It’s got a lot of stuff going on, but was clearly thought out for the medium on which it is being consumed.

I’ve grown very accustomed to using the site and haven’t bought a physical newspaper in maybe 2 months. The inspiration for this post was the relative calm I felt while taking in an entire page of NY Giants training camp updates. There was a main article as well as several smaller snippets and relavent info that filled the entire rectangular page. It was the first time i actively thought about the differences in the two methods of sports content consumption.

One is not necessarily better than the other, they are just distinct experiences with the content. It was the calmness I felt that led me to recognize the unease I tend to feel while reading some… most mobile web content. The following may be some of the factors that contributed to my sense of calm.

  1. It’s completely predictable. Every action and move has the risk of being so costly on a mobile experience. My stresses range from clicking a wayward link to wondering if the screen i am looking at will scroll or flip.
  2. It’s big… like bigger-than-an-iPad big.
  3. I don’t have to move my hands to see the whole article. my eyes and brain do all the work to move around the content.
  4. There are no buttons to grok. There was also no chrome to compete with the content. This is a definite improvement the mobile web can make.
  5. There’s contextual stuff – I read a whole page with a full article and relevant snippets without scrolling or changing pages.
  6. it’s black-and-white and low fidelity as far as print goes and i hardly really thought about that fact.
  7. it’s paper… i think it was a tree once or something
  8. the fonts show up properly
  9. i can completely predict what the page when do when i hold it. There was a definite lack of jumping around that articles do on the web as their elements come into the screen. The image suddenly pushing down the article as i am reading the first line and such.
  10. nothing is blinking…
  11. bonus thingm – There was zero load time or latency

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