From Mashable to ReadWrite, it seems that niche publications are all moving in the same direction: mobile friendly, a mix of features and blog content, and a departure from typical web fonts. However when The New York Times, one of the standard bearers of online content, follows these trends they become the rule rather then the exception.
As Monica Montesa recently wrote, you can’t have great content marketing without great design.
The Times’ redesign won’t be public for a few more months, but The Verge’s Tim Carmody has taken an extensive tour of the new design (so far) and has the inside scoop. Several parts of the Verge’s story jumped out as relevant to content marketers. Let’s take a look -the Verge commentary is bold, my commentary after.
“For news articles and magazine stories, the HTML5 redesign foregoes the familiar but much-lamented page breaks in favor of a continuous vertical scroll. “We’ve found that the levels of engagement in terms of time spent and depth of reading increase when it’s on a single page,” says [VP of Search Products Rob] Larson.”
Gaming article layouts for pageviews is going out the window in favor of long single pages and endless scroll site (like Quartz). Content marketers often aren’t selling page views, so there’s no excuse for sacrificing reading experience for page views.
“Readers perversely nostalgic for a page turn will find comfort in how the headline and article fonts newspaper and magazine stories now exactly match their print counterparts.”
In the past, web designers only could chose from six to eight fonts. With new technology, nearly every font is able to be utilized in a new design. This enables sites like the Times to use their trademark typefaces on the web. This offers a cue for brands everywhere to mix up their pallet (within reason) for a little uniqueness. Just avoid Comic Sans, would you please?
“He [Ian Adelman, director of digital design for the Times] outlines a few of the redesign’s other goals: creating a more responsive design for different monitor and screen sizes;”
In two years we’ll be reading content on devices we can’t even conceive of today. Remember when the iPhone 5 came out and stretched the mobile resolution a little more? Exactly. Future proof your site by having it adjust automatically for varying screen sizes. The development cost of making your site “responsive” is much more effective than money spent on an app.
“experimenting with cloud-based features like shared preferences between web and apps, or syncing progress in a story, Kindle-style, so users can stop reading in one platform and pick up where they left off in another.”
If you’re producing long form content, syncing may become the norm. iBooks and Kindle already offer this functionality as to Pocket and Instapaper. Soon savvy web readers will come to expect similar behavior from their favorite sites. While not a “must have” I’d keep an eye on how the Times rolls this one out.