This isn’t about mobile phones any more. Karen McGrane has written a book about making your content work on every device with internet access—Create Once, Publish Everywhere, as NPR says. Content Strategy for Mobile describes a strategy for gradually abstracting content away from presentation (there’s a parallel here to the web standards movement of the 2000s and the separation of markup and style) and suggests that you start by making a business case for mobile content. Anyone in charge of a content-based website should read this.
Many content management systems look like a database got drunk and vomited all over the interface (fig 3.14).
If there’s one thing we should have learned from the web, it’s that user behavior evolves more quickly than businesses realize. User expectations evolve and move forward, and only later do organizations hurry to catch up. If you’re wondering if you’re going to need to invest in getting your content on mobile, quit hoping you won’t have to. Your customers are already there.
Many times, we encode structural information merely through styling. Data like author names or movie titles or calendar dates get pasted into the body of the text, perhaps formatted in bold or italics. But just because those text elements have been styled visually doesn’t mean you can do anything with them. If that metadata were called out separately—stored in a unique field in the database, or marked up with semantic tags that describe what the content means (rather than just how it should be styled)—it would be more useful and more actionable.
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