Platform ≠ Content

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Slides from my talk about the difference between content and platform design and why it is essential to understand the difference. It explains why designers are uniquely qualified to solve some of the toughest problems facing newsrooms today. This talk explores how platform design is the new battleground for audience retention and how designers play a crucial role in building successful digital products.

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  • Highlight of convention... thx David!
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Platform ≠ Content

  1. 1. Platform ≠ Content
  2. 2. Thank you to my smart friends: Callie Neylan Jeremy Pennycook Paulo Lopez Max Pfennighaus Patrick Cooper Benjamin Dauer Wes Lindamood Josh Hatch Joel Sucherman Kinsey Wilson Miranda Mulligan Michael Yoch Ian Adelman Tyson Evans Bill Couch Matt Mansfield Justin Ferrell Bryan Haggerty Matt Thompson Ron Coddington Michael Maness Laura Ramos Irakli Nadareishvili Marc Lavallee
  3. 3. Louisville Slugger
  4. 4. Rockwell About me •Newseum •Knight-Ridder/Tribune •SmartBrief •USA TODAY •NPR •Twitter
  5. 5. Twitter NPR USA TODAY PLATFORM CONTENT Newseum KRT
  6. 6. Content design and platform design are different beasts. Understanding the differences between the platforms is essential to creating good work.
  7. 7. Content Platform Exploratory Specific Custom Storytelling Pacing Rigid General Template-driven Distribution Wayfinding The perfect page The perfect system
  8. 8. What is the best way to tell this story? What problem am I helping this reader solve?
  9. 9. CONTENT illustration reporting the story graphics pacing bandwidth readability metrics scale CMS sharing wayfinding PLATFORM
  10. 10. “...like trying to make one pair of shoes fit everybody’s feet.” Jony Ive FastCoDesign.com
  11. 11. Poynter.org 10/28/2013
  12. 12. Digital news design is still broken. •Many story pages still feel the same. •Pages are filled with unnecessary junk. •Things don’t work on mobile.
  13. 13. Samey
  14. 14. 152 choices in the top nav.
  15. 15. Unsolicited NYTimes redesign by Andy Rutledge
  16. 16. Your competitive set?
  17. 17. WTHR app
  18. 18. Gmail = ubiquitous
  19. 19. News / Information Consumption News Orgs → ← Tech Orgs
  20. 20. Jim Roberts Is Mashable’s Exective Editor and Chief Content Officer Mashable October 30, 2013
  21. 21. Jeff Bezos Says Washington Post Could Take a Page From Amazon ABC News September 25, 2013 Source: wikipedia
  22. 22. The battle for audience retention will be fought on the platform. Design plays a crucial role in helping news organizations make digital products.
  23. 23. How might design help create better experiences? We must create beautiful spaces in which our audiences want to spend time. Lots of time.
  24. 24. Lucent Home
  25. 25. animatedalbums.tumblr.com
  26. 26. Design thinking can help •Context •Research •Empathy (user-centered) •Synthesis → Insights
  27. 27. Why? •Answer the right questions •Better answers, faster •Proactive, not reactive
  28. 28. Building great products can’t happen in dysfunction. Our organizational structures are kryptonite to innovation.
  29. 29. The baggage: Distribution Paid to manage risk. vs. Content Paid to tell stories.
  30. 30. Better! Technologists Product Shepherds User Experience
  31. 31. Good experiences thrive in organizations where design is respected.
  32. 32. Visual journalists are readymade problem solvers. •Ask questions •Observation helps challenge status-quo •Readers are fickle
  33. 33. YouTube
  34. 34. Parade Magazine
  35. 35. If you’re not agile, you’re doing it wrong. •Small •Multidisciplinary •Empowered •Accountable
  36. 36. Fertilizer for Agile •Clear strategic direction •Co-location •Mutual understanding
  37. 37. Evaluate and iterate
  38. 38. Tappable prototype
  39. 39. Understand how things work. We say “build” for a reason.
  40. 40. Handing a PSD to a developer does not make you a platform designer. Knowledge of how things work is critical to making informed design decisions.
  41. 41. Start small: •Little experiments •Skunk works can be cheap •Google is free •Show, don’t tell •SHIP IT.
  42. 42. Experience is everywhere. Understanding the differences between the platforms is essential to creating good work.
  43. 43. Thanks! @dwjr

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