Mobile websites are ready for reinvention

“Digital-native news organizations have developed their own voice for the web. Now it’s time to bring on mobile-native experiences and content.”

News organizations have distinguished between their mobile and desktop sites by the size of their screen. The news experience between the two has remained the same. News sites are designed to be mobile first, but they’re written on the desktop.

priya-ganapatiMost of the top 50 digital news websites get more traffic from mobile than the desktop, but time spent on mobile sites is usually less than that on the desktop. Mobile news sites currently offer a user experience that is sized down from the desktop, while articles and visuals are chosen with the desktop in mind.

Meanwhile, Snapchat, Instagram Stories, and messaging bots are leading the way for mobile-native experiences. They are training users on videos that are raw, visual, informative, and short. They are bringing chatting to news and a quick look at the headlines.

Compare that to the chopped-down, headline/photo/text format that most mobile news sites offer today.

Mobile news will have to be untethered from the desktop. Digital-native news organizations have developed their own voice for the web. Now it’s time to bring on mobile-native experiences and content. Instead of a one-size-fits-all for digital, news organizations need to create videos and stories that work for mobile — separate from the desktop.

For instance, behind-the-scenes look into how a news organization covers a significant event can be raw video footage that readers can follow along in real time — available only on mobile. Group chat on mobile including reporters can build a community. Short stories or bite-sized pieces of information — what magazines feature at the front of the book — could make a comeback for mobile. There will be greater emphasis on visuals, interactivity that goes beyond clicking on parts of a story or a graphic, and videos and articles that are quick updates.

Mobile news sites will be redesigned to accommodate these pieces — users will have navigation choices that go beyond list and card views. Not everything that goes into the desktop version needs to go into the mobile site, or vice versa. How far news organizations go in creating unique mobile experiences will depend on how much they are willing to innovate.

Mobile news sites that draw in users and offer a different experience will create new opportunities for advertising that can stand on its own on mobile or tie together the mobile and the desktop experience.

Priya Ganapati is director of product for Quartz.

Andrew Ramsammy   Rise of the rebel journalist

Annemarie Dooling   UGC as a path out of the bubble

Asma Khalid   The year of the newsy podcast

M. Scott Havens   Quality advertising to pair with quality content

Matt Waite   The people running the media are the problem

Matt Karolian   AI improves publishing

Zizi Papacharissi   Distracted journalism looks in the mirror

Ashley C. Woods   Local journalism will fight a new fight

Tracie Powell   Building reader relationships

Mandy Velez   The audience is the source and the story

Helen Havlak   Chasing mobile search results

David Chavern   Fake news gets solved

Doris Truong   Connecting with diverse perspectives

Laura E. Davis   Show your work

Lee Glendinning   A call for great editing

Swati Sharma   Failing diversity is failing journalism

Michael Oreskes   Reversing the erosion of democracy

Nicholas Quah   Podcasting’s coming class war

Libby Bawcombe   Kids board the podcast train

Tim Griggs   The year we stop taking sides

Jim Friedlich   A banner year for venture philanthropy

Burt Herman   Local news gets interesting

Ken Schwencke   Disaggregation and collection

Dan Gillmor   Fix the demand side of news too

Mark Armstrong   Time to pay up

Michael Kuntz   Trust is the new click

Samantha Barry   Messaging apps go mainstream

Alexis Lloyd   Public trust for private realities

Anita Zielina   The sales funnel reaches (and changes) the newsroom

Andy Rossback   The year of the user

Jon Slade   Trusted news, at a premium

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Earn trust by working for (and with) readers

Rebekah Monson   Journalism is community-as-a-service

Christopher Meighan   Unlocking a deeper mobile experience

Carla Zanoni   Prioritizing emotional health

Dhiya Kuriakose   The year of digital detoxing

An Xiao Mina   2017 is for the attention innovators

Kawandeep Virdee   Moving deeper than the machine of clicks

Caitlin Thompson   High touch, high value

Elizabeth Jensen   Trust depends on the details

Jonathan Hunt   Measurement companies get with the times

Corey Ford   The year of the rebelpreneur

Ryan McCarthy   Platforms grow up or grow more toxic

Megan H. Chan   Cultural reporting goes mainstream

Ole Reißmann   Un-faking the news

Cory Haik   Navigating power in Trump’s America

Laura Walker   Authentic voices, not fake news

Ariane Bernard   Better data about your users

Aja Bogdanoff   Comments start pulling their weight

Liz Danzico   The triumph of the small

Pablo Boczkowski   Fake news and the future of journalism

Andrew Haeg   The year of listening

Margarita Noriega   From pinning tweets to tweeting pins

Guy Raz   Inspiration and hope will matter more than ever

Nathalie Malinarich   Making it easy

Liz McMillen   The year of deep insights

Javaun Moradi   What can we own?

Rachel Schallom   Stop flying over the flyover states

Erin Millar   The bottom falls out of Canadian media

Erin Pettigrew   A year of reflection in tech

Geetika Rudra   Journalism is community

Millie Tran   International expansion without colonial overtones

Mario García   Virtual reality on mobile leaps forward

Rubina Madan Fillion   Snapchat grows up

Jeremy Barr   A terrible year for Tiers B through D

Emily Goligoski   Incorporating audience feedback at scale

Renée Kaplan   Pure reach has reached its limit

Sam Ford   The year we talk about our awful metrics

Hillary Frey   Forests need to burn to regrow

Tim Herrera   The safe space of service journalism

Bill Adair   The year of the fact-checking bot

Coleen O'Lear   Back to basics

Melody Kramer   Radically rethinking design

Sarah Marshall   Focusing on the why of the click

Juliette De Maeyer and Dominique Trudel   A rebirth of populist journalism

Eric Nuzum   Podcasting stratifies into hard layers

Mary Meehan   Feeling blue in a red state

Molly de Aguiar   Philanthropists galvanize around news

Felix Salmon   Headlines matter

Peter Sterne   A dangerous anti-press mix

Moreno Cruz Osório   The year of transparency in Brazilian journalism

Jonathan Stray   A boom in responsible conservative media

Taylor Lorenz   “Selfie journalism” becomes a thing

Emi Kolawole   From empathy to community

S.P. Sullivan   Baking transparency into our routines

Sara M. Watson   There is no neutral interface

Sydette Harry   Facing journalism’s history

Ray Soto   VR moves from experiments to immersion

Claire Wardle   Verification takes center stage

Keren Goldshlager   Defining a focus, and then saying no

Almar Latour   Thanks, #fakenews

Mathew Ingram   The Faustian Facebook dance continues

Sue Schardt   Objectivity, fairness, balance, and love

Alice Antheaume   A new test for French media

Bill Keller   A healthy skepticism about data

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon   Truthiness in private spaces

Errin Haines Whack   Chaos or community?

Rachel Sklar   Women are going to get loud

Francesco Marconi   The year of augmented writing

Maria Bustillos   “It’s true — I saw it on Facebook”

Alberto Cairo   Communicating uncertainty to our readers

Nushin Rashidian   A rise in high-price, high-value subscriptions

Tanya Cordrey   The resurgence of reach

David Weigel   A test for online speech

David Skok   What lies beyond paywalls

Amy Webb   Journalism as a service

Andrea Silenzi   Podcasts dive into breaking news analysis

Cindy Royal   Preparing the digital educator-scholar hybrid

Umbreen Bhatti   A sense of journalists’ humanity

Olivia Ma   The year collaboration beats competition

Trushar Barot   API or die

Lam Thuy Vo   The primary source in the age of mechanical multiplication

Mary Walter-Brown   Getting comfortable asking for money

P. Kim Bui   The year journalism teaches again

Richard J. Tofel   The country doesn’t trust us — but they do believe us

Priya Ganapati   Mobile websites are ready for reinvention

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen   News after advertising may look like news before advertising

Adam Thomas   The coming collaboration across Europe

Reyhan Harmanci   Bear witness — but then what?

Carrie Brown-Smith   We won’t do enough

Steve Henn   The next revolution is voice

Katie Zhu   The year of minority media

Andrew Losowsky   Building our own communities

Kathleen Kingsbury   Print as a premium offering

Vivian Schiller   Tested like never before

Robert Hernandez   History will exclude you, again

Dannagal G. Young   The return of the gatekeepers

Joanne Lipman   The year of the drone, really

Juan Luis Sánchez   Your predictions are our present

Gabriel Snyder   The aberration of 20th-century journalism

Mike Ragsdale   A smarter information diet

Tressie McMillan Cottom   A path through the media’s coming legitimacy crisis

Ståle Grut   The battle for high-quality VR

Julia Beizer   Building a coherent core identity

Sarah Wolozin   Virtual reality on the open web

Dan Colarusso   Let’s make live video we can love

Amie Ferris-Rotman   Вслед за Россией

Amy O'Leary   Not just covering communities, reaching them

Mira Lowe   News literacy, bias, and “Hamilton”

Scott Dodd   Nonprofits team up for impact