Content Strategy and the iPad: Part 2

Doug Bolin   September 24, 2010

CS and the iPad. Are you experienced? (Image via Patricio Villarroel)

What is the iPad?

In the last post, we started to address five questions related to content strategy for the Pad.  Here are 3 more questions to consider:

1) What are the content strategy and user experience best practices for content being experienced on the iPad?

2) Same question, but for iPad apps, what are the content strategy and user experience best practices for App content?

It’s probably out there somewhere, or already in the works, but so far I haven’t been able to find a single article or book that seeks to address even a piece of these questions

Everything is about the iPhone, or, as a marketing ploy, the title includes the iPad as an afterthought, “… for the iPhone and iPad.”

Do you agree that the iPad is not just a big iPhone or an iPod touch on steroids? Have you found or written anything that is really about best practices for iPad content strategy and user experience? Can you post a link?

These aren’t specifically about the iPad, but I’m posting them as thought provokers towards iPad best practices for content:

Unleashing the Power of Digital Signage: Content Strategies for the 5th Screen
Keith Kelsen is the author and no one knows more about content strategy for Digital out of Home (aka digital signage) than he does. Networked, dynamic in real time, multi-channel and zone, interactive, touch, gestural and GPS powered, Digital out of Home (DOOH) has gone far beyond billboards and signs. It has a lot in common with the iPad, which is a new addition to the list of “5th Screens”.

Designing the iPhone User Experience
By Suzanne Ginsburg, this book lays out an application of basic UX practices to developing iPhone apps. Nothing about the iPad or content strategy, but it is a start.

Tapworthy: Designing Great iPhone Apps
This is a fun, clear and well-written book about iPhone Apps by Josh Clark. If only there was a similar resource for iPad content! At least the title evokes the touch interface.

3) Is the iPad itself already a content strategy?


This isn’t my idea or phrase, but I’m including it because it captures the unique nature of the iPad when it comes to content. It is from a Strange Attractor blog post by Suw and Kevin Charman-Anderson.

The emotionally charged discussion that follows is actually more interesting than the post itself and worth checking out.

Here’s a quote from the discussion thread that somewhat explains the premise:

“ Kevin’s post is about how Apple’s design strategy for the iPad was content-focused rather than tech-focused. … The iPad will live or die because of the content one can access through it, not because of the technical spec – that’s why it’s a content strategy not a tech strategy.”

Let’s continue this discussion on Scatter Gather with a slightly different twist. Do you think the iPad’s design and functionality embodies and creates an implicit content strategy? Or is it just a delivery system, a platform, for traditional content?


One Response

  1. Long story short: the ol’ newsroom adage—content directs form—no longer applies. Rather, content strategy must adapt to new forms of reading as consumers power browse using the Flipboard native app.

    Information Architects asked the prescient yet befuddling question: “Are we designing desktop programs, Web sites or something entirely new?”

    Apple’s HI Guidelines push Apps to imitate physical objects. Prototyping revealed that 3D SFX and material surfaces work as an invitation to touch—but failed as metaphors. As Jakob Nielsen (2010) observed in user testing, the print metaphor did not enable users to instantly grasp the conceptual model of the product. The mismatch between the mental/conceptual models results in a poor user experience; users found the iPad hard to learn and hard to use.

    For Interface Customization, the main usability problems related to discoverability, findability, and learnability. What Nielsen’s seven-person study does not measure, however, is time on app to determine how long an active user will spend learning a new user interface. Per Shackel’s Acceptability Paradigm, previous usability studies from the 90’s claimed eight to 15 seconds was the maximum time a person would wait for an interaction using a desktop computer.

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