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Recent reading

I recently finished reading two good books: Content Everywhere by Sara Wachter-Boettcher and The Mobile Book by Smashing Magazine. I was hopping between the two, chapter by chapter, and there were a number of points of overlap. Below are some of my highlights form the books, things that I want to keep in mind.

Smashing Mobile Book

I picked up the Mobile Book because of it's all-star cast and interesting range of topics. The book was solid, but felt a little like a compilation of recent blog posts rather than presenting brand new things.

  • Device spread is very heavily influenced by country. For example, compare South Africa and the United Kingdom: SA has around 15% iOS usage, where UK has around 45%.
  • Proxy browsing is still very important, and not just in developing countries. People all over the world often choose to use proxy browsers to save on data costs and get better speed when on a slow connection. Popular proxy browsers include Opera Mini (big in Africa) and UC Browser (big in China).
  • Touch is often the preferred interface. The design problems around touch interfaces are similar to those of industrial design because of the physical nature of the problem. We should look for opportunities to eliminate buttons and have large touch targets instead.

Content Everywhere Notes

Content Everywhere is about changing mindset and existing processes to be able to deal with today's mutli-platofrm world. I picked up the book after seeing SWB at CS Forum 2012 last year. I'm on board with the principles, but I was interested in finding out more: about the practical applicability, especially as it relates to size of the project; about how it effects the content authors.

  • Some ideas on deciding required level of granularity from the book:
    • Will this element be used for searching or sorting?
    • Will it new used to relate to other content?
    • Does it need to be extracted and displayed alongside other content?
    • Does it need to shift, resize or be hidden for some display sizes?
  • Content shifting (such as saving to Instapaper, Readability, Pinterest) still has a lot of issues around it: attribution, copyright, and compensation.
  • The best way to deal with these big changes is to embrace them, and make your team more cross-functional and interdepartmental