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.

Dhiya Kuriakose   The year of digital detoxing

Michael Oreskes   Reversing the erosion of democracy

Mark Armstrong   Time to pay up

Mira Lowe   News literacy, bias, and “Hamilton”

Rebekah Monson   Journalism is community-as-a-service

Taylor Lorenz   “Selfie journalism” becomes a thing

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

David Weigel   A test for online speech

Bill Keller   A healthy skepticism about data

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

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

Rachel Sklar   Women are going to get loud

Michael Kuntz   Trust is the new click

Jon Slade   Trusted news, at a premium

Felix Salmon   Headlines matter

Bill Adair   The year of the fact-checking bot

P. Kim Bui   The year journalism teaches again

Amy Webb   Journalism as a service

Coleen O'Lear   Back to basics

Andy Rossback   The year of the user

Eric Nuzum   Podcasting stratifies into hard layers

Rubina Madan Fillion   Snapchat grows up

Mike Ragsdale   A smarter information diet

Umbreen Bhatti   A sense of journalists’ humanity

Sara M. Watson   There is no neutral interface

Pablo Boczkowski   Fake news and the future of journalism

Ole Reißmann   Un-faking the news

Scott Dodd   Nonprofits team up for impact

Samantha Barry   Messaging apps go mainstream

Claire Wardle   Verification takes center stage

Mario García   Virtual reality on mobile leaps forward

Alice Antheaume   A new test for French media

Sam Ford   The year we talk about our awful metrics

Zizi Papacharissi   Distracted journalism looks in the mirror

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

Rachel Schallom   Stop flying over the flyover states

Emi Kolawole   From empathy to community

Laura Walker   Authentic voices, not fake news

Erin Pettigrew   A year of reflection in tech

Nathalie Malinarich   Making it easy

Caitlin Thompson   High touch, high value

Tracie Powell   Building reader relationships

Joanne Lipman   The year of the drone, really

Kawandeep Virdee   Moving deeper than the machine of clicks

Katie Zhu   The year of minority media

Margarita Noriega   From pinning tweets to tweeting pins

M. Scott Havens   Quality advertising to pair with quality content

Tim Herrera   The safe space of service journalism

Errin Haines Whack   Chaos or community?

Dannagal G. Young   The return of the gatekeepers

Tim Griggs   The year we stop taking sides

Molly de Aguiar   Philanthropists galvanize around news

Annemarie Dooling   UGC as a path out of the bubble

Tanya Cordrey   The resurgence of reach

Reyhan Harmanci   Bear witness — but then what?

Doris Truong   Connecting with diverse perspectives

Helen Havlak   Chasing mobile search results

Laura E. Davis   Show your work

Trushar Barot   API or die

Carla Zanoni   Prioritizing emotional health

Mandy Velez   The audience is the source and the story

Steve Henn   The next revolution is voice

Kathleen Kingsbury   Print as a premium offering

David Chavern   Fake news gets solved

Jim Friedlich   A banner year for venture philanthropy

Ståle Grut   The battle for high-quality VR

Jeremy Barr   A terrible year for Tiers B through D

Robert Hernandez   History will exclude you, again

Aja Bogdanoff   Comments start pulling their weight

Sydette Harry   Facing journalism’s history

Amy O'Leary   Not just covering communities, reaching them

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

Juliette De Maeyer and Dominique Trudel   A rebirth of populist journalism

Javaun Moradi   What can we own?

Mathew Ingram   The Faustian Facebook dance continues

Megan H. Chan   Cultural reporting goes mainstream

Hillary Frey   Forests need to burn to regrow

Nicholas Quah   Podcasting’s coming class war

Julia Beizer   Building a coherent core identity

Melody Kramer   Radically rethinking design

Priya Ganapati   Mobile websites are ready for reinvention

Sarah Wolozin   Virtual reality on the open web

Corey Ford   The year of the rebelpreneur

Andrew Haeg   The year of listening

Olivia Ma   The year collaboration beats competition

S.P. Sullivan   Baking transparency into our routines

Andrea Silenzi   Podcasts dive into breaking news analysis

Ray Soto   VR moves from experiments to immersion

Geetika Rudra   Journalism is community

Matt Karolian   AI improves publishing

Alexis Lloyd   Public trust for private realities

Liz McMillen   The year of deep insights

Jonathan Stray   A boom in responsible conservative media

Vivian Schiller   Tested like never before

Erin Millar   The bottom falls out of Canadian media

Swati Sharma   Failing diversity is failing journalism

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon   Truthiness in private spaces

Andrew Ramsammy   Rise of the rebel journalist

Christopher Meighan   Unlocking a deeper mobile experience

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

Cory Haik   Navigating power in Trump’s America

Dan Gillmor   Fix the demand side of news too

Liz Danzico   The triumph of the small

Ken Schwencke   Disaggregation and collection

Amie Ferris-Rotman   Вслед за Россией

Cindy Royal   Preparing the digital educator-scholar hybrid

Alberto Cairo   Communicating uncertainty to our readers

Peter Sterne   A dangerous anti-press mix

Gabriel Snyder   The aberration of 20th-century journalism

Renée Kaplan   Pure reach has reached its limit

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

Moreno Cruz Osório   The year of transparency in Brazilian journalism

Mary Walter-Brown   Getting comfortable asking for money

Millie Tran   International expansion without colonial overtones

Lee Glendinning   A call for great editing

Libby Bawcombe   Kids board the podcast train

Ariane Bernard   Better data about your users

Juan Luis Sánchez   Your predictions are our present

Matt Waite   The people running the media are the problem

Asma Khalid   The year of the newsy podcast

Emily Goligoski   Incorporating audience feedback at scale

Francesco Marconi   The year of augmented writing

Burt Herman   Local news gets interesting

Almar Latour   Thanks, #fakenews

Guy Raz   Inspiration and hope will matter more than ever

Keren Goldshlager   Defining a focus, and then saying no

Ashley C. Woods   Local journalism will fight a new fight

Jonathan Hunt   Measurement companies get with the times

Mary Meehan   Feeling blue in a red state

Ryan McCarthy   Platforms grow up or grow more toxic

Sue Schardt   Objectivity, fairness, balance, and love

Sarah Marshall   Focusing on the why of the click

An Xiao Mina   2017 is for the attention innovators

Andrew Losowsky   Building our own communities

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

Adam Thomas   The coming collaboration across Europe

Carrie Brown-Smith   We won’t do enough

Elizabeth Jensen   Trust depends on the details

David Skok   What lies beyond paywalls

Dan Colarusso   Let’s make live video we can love