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#AOPsummit: How ZDNet approaches mobile reporting with a responsive design CMS

October 12th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Design and graphics, Events, Mobile

Business technology news website ZDNet not only has a responsive site which adapts to the size of the screen it is viewed on, but has a responsively designed CMS, which scales to fit the screen size with the aim of making it easy for journalists to file stories from a smartphone or tablet.

The responsive CMS, which was developed internally, was introduced in July, Laura Jenner, product manager for CBS Interactive UK, which publishes ZDNet, said at today’s AOP Digital Publishing Summit.

In the session, which focussed on user experience and responsive (or adaptive) design, Jenner argued the case for responsive design, saying it is is “much better for user interaction” than an ‘m.’ mobile site.

And ease of using the site to download a white paper, for example, is key.

Loyal users are key to building audience as they always have been.

There are also business benefits of adaptive design, Jenner said, explaining that both users and search engines prefer using a responsively-designed site.

“Adaptive design is Google’s recommended option,” Jenner added.

And mobile means “you also have access to readers at times you didn’t previously”, she explained. “In the past you would have to wait until 9am on a Monday until people returned to their desks.”

Responsive design may also reduce the need for native apps and therefore reduce overheads, she added.

Asked how to convince advertisers of the advantages, Jenner said:

We are not forcing users onto another platform, they are already there. And we are providing a much better environment for advertising campaigns.

Asked whether journalists need to adapt articles or headlines to fit mobile reading, Jenner said “we don’t tell [journalists] to write a headline that fits on mobile”, adding that she believes people don’t want a shorter version of the story on mobile but want the full article.

In discussing development costs, she explained that responsive design is probably no cheaper as a one-off cost than developing native apps, but that the option is “far easier to iterate” and develop over time.

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#AOPsummit: ‘Big launch’ in responsive design next week for BBC News

October 12th, 2012 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Events, Mobile

BBC News will see a “big launch” in its move to responsive web design next week when readers accessing the site on a mobile will be redirected to the responsive version of the site rather than the desktop version.

Chris Russell, head of product for BBC News online, talked through the shift to responsive design at today’s AOP Digital Publishing Summit.

Responsive sites automatically scale to fit the screen size they are viewed on and have been adopted by news outlets including Channel 4 News and ITN, plus smaller outlets including student-run site Redbrick.

The BBC News site has been in development for some time with “location and weather modules” recently introduced and video added within the past two weeks, Russell explained.

He illustrated the importance of making the news site a good user experience on a smartphone by explaining that around 10 to 20 per cent of BBC News traffic currently comes from mobile.

He added that BBC News “still wants to be in app stores” so does not see responsive design in replacing native apps entirely.

Asked whether headlines and other content needs to be written with mobile in mind, he explained that BBC News has been doing that for many years, altering headline lengths for Ceefax pages, for example.

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#jpod: The AOP Digital Publishing Summit

October 18th, 2010 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Events, Mobile, Online Journalism, Podcast

Last week Journalism.co.uk attended the AOP Digital Publishing Summit, where speakers from across the news and business media industry discussed how media owners can improve their businesses for the future, from innovative content and new platforms to diverse revenue streams.

During the day we caught up with some of the speakers to hear more about what they saw for the future of the industry. Listen below for our podcast round-up of events from the day, including interviews with keynote speaker Jacek Utko, design director for Bonnier Business Press International, John Barnes, MD of digital at Incisive Media and Greg Beitchman, global editor for Reuters.

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TechCrunch editor on AOL, its new ‘sugar daddy’ parent

October 18th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Business, Events, Online Journalism

At the AOP Digital Publishing Summit on Friday Journalism.co.uk caught up with editor of TechCrunch Europe Mike Butcher, to speak about the recent purchase of TechCrunch by AOL. Listen below to hear Butcher discuss TechCrunch’s dedication to independent editorial and the deal-breaker behind the purchase.

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#AOPsummit: B2B media and the value of communities

October 15th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Business, Events, Niche

Make a connection with your audience and harness the power of focused communities around your niche, media groups advised publishers during a panel discussion on how B2B publications can benefit from and offer value to their readers.

John Barnes MD of digital at Incisive Media said B2B publishers have to understand who their audiences are.

It’s about identifying a type of focused audience … and understanding what the role, function, value and importance of that individual is so we can sell that focus to advertisers. We have lost sight of that in some of the market as we have been chasing eyeballs instead.

He added that the way forward with this thinking is to create an environment where “it is the most natural thing in the world to hand over details”.

It’s about having the environment to encourage sharing … if we haven’t got that we haven’t got a media business.

Mike Butcher, editor of TechCrunch Europe which was recently bought by AOL, added that the chase for communities is historical in the publishing industry.

We didn’t chase registrations, what we chased was communities. If you look at what publishers have done historically … in the first instance it was to chase communities. They didn’t necessarily have data about them but they chased them and enlightened those communities.

In fact he said TechCrunch’s focused community was key to its value for AOL: “it was bought for this high value community”.

Tim Potter, managing director of business publishing at Centaur Media added that community focused platforms such as blogs when used within media brands will encourage high interaction.

If you give people blogging tools within our existing media brands  you get a very high level of interaction, even in markets where you wouldn’t expect it … it will take a lot for a blog to come along and challenge established media brands providing they do the right things.

But as long as the publisher continues to provide informed content, he added, it will remain “central to the debate”.

Kevin Eyres, managing director for LinkedIn Europe added that the value of the individual must also be remembered by brands.

It’s about not losing sight of humans. When you’re talking about B2B it’s a business person purchasing from another business person. Companies are leveraging their best assets – their employees – to make that more personal connection back and forth with whoever that purchaser is going to be.

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#AOPsummit: Media leaders encourage experimentation and openness to failure

October 15th, 2010 | No Comments | Posted by in Business, Events, Online Journalism

Experiment, experiment, experiment – that was the message from the heads of ‘leading media’ at the AOP Digital Publishing Summit this morning.

Google UK’s MD Matt Brittin said publishers can’t afford not to experiment.

Be distinctive … there’s an explosion of choice, it’s a very different world … We don’t know what’s going to happen in the next year, no one knows  … experiment and get feedback. Audiences, readers and advertisers have got more choice than ever before … You think it’s fast now, mobile devices … are going to change the world much more than the last five years. At least we’re in a situation now where we recognise this is the new normal.

… If Fast Flip is Google’s next failure, well great. If you don’t fail then you’re just investing in low risk projects… You need to fail … now everything you do can cost you very very low amounts … if you don’t experiment, you don’t learn.

Tim Brooks, managing director for Guardian News and Media seemed to agree.

We should also be taking more risks, not fewer risks. The danger is that we try to de-risk in this environment, but digital media means you can fail more cheaply – you have to try lots of things because nobody knows which ones will work.

Stephen Miron, CEO for Global Radio, added that every organisation needs to find its own model.

There’s no template solution. We get hung up about ‘look what their doing, lets follow that’ … we need to look at what we individually do well and follow that through.

Mark Wood, UK CEO for Future Publishing added that while the near future for innovation is in mobile, it won’t be at the expense of valued content.

We’re going to see a lot more mobile apps of various descriptions, but the thing I find reassuring is throughout all these changes people still go back to the same sort of content they like to absorb and consume.

Magazines in 50 years … will still be there in some form or another. If everyone keeps hold of that, however it’s delivered, whether it’s through print or on an app is semi-irrelevent as long as you can monetise it. We’ve seen already quite dynamic changes … for example the TechRadar website’s traffic is now way ahead of Cnet in the UK … that shows what you can do with a bit of creativity and by going for a space in the digital market.

During the debate Brittin seemed to hint towards a discussion on rumoured plans for Google to introduce a micropayments system, believed to be called Newspass, by saying that “over time we’ll see the advent of a much bigger range of ways for people to pay for services”. But he quickly killed off any such ideas when questioned about it.

Don’t believe everything you read. It’s true that there has been a lot of speculation about micropayments. I have not got anything to announce. But I hope we can do something to push forward the way people can pay.

He added that it was vital for the user to always be offered choice: “be transparent and give choice, to opt in and out to different levels”, he said.

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