Our keynote analyst Benedict Evans from Enders Analysis had accused publishers earlier at Mobile Media Strategies of solipcism - the belief that the world revolves around them. As event chair Tim Brooks put it, it's UX expert Martin Belam's job to put the user at the centre. (Belam has uploaded a version of his speech here).
Belam, who has previously worked at the Guardian and the BBC, and is now a consultant at Emblem Consulting, made three key points:
Know your device
Belam says every time he develops an app for a new piece of hardware or operating system he forces himself to use it as his everyday device. Publishers need first-hand knowledge of both the hardware and software their content will be used on, he says: "It's no good sticking with your corporate phone. If you never use the device how can you judge whether you have made agood product for it?"
Know your users
Belam has a problem with publishers who don't understand usage behaviours when they are trying to develop for mobile. "Every time you start designing for mobile, someone in the room will make the assumption you are designing for someone running for a bus."
Publishers need to get to grips with how users relate to their device, the fact they will use it for convenience even while in front of a PC, or that they are less tolerant of failure on mobile devices than PCs.
Don't try to do everything
Publishers often make the mistake of trying to get the full breadth of their content into an app. Instead, says Belam, you should include only the content that works best on the platform. "When I design I try to get down to the simplest expression. Doing one thing really well on an app is much better than doing several things half-heartedly."
Belam also points out that publishers are going to have to learn to understand that users can already upload a video to blogging platforms and social media quicker than they can get content out on their own platform - and that process will get quicker when 4G becomes widespread.
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