The wireless marionette
I got an iPad. It’s a fun little device, better for playing than for working as far as I’m concerned, but fun. The iPad has two ports. There’s a power/data port where you charge the thing and simultaneously upload media and software from a computer; and there’s a headphone jack. That’s it. No place to plug in a mouse (now that’s a funny idea!) or a data stick. You can’t insert a CD. And you can’t plug in a monitor.
The concept is so simple that it goes unnoticed by most: the iPad is made even more desirable by its innate unaccessorizability. (Now there’s a word.) When you have an iPad, you’re free. You can’t anchor it to a monitor, a printer or anything else.
The other part of the iPad’s appeal is that it holds exactly what you want it to hold, until you change your mind. Capacity isn’t huge, so you can’t store a laptop’s worth of information on it. It’s not a permanent place to stash your stuff. The iPad is designed for things to come and go: photos, video, music, games, media. Pull your photos from Flickr, your music from your laptop and video from the cloud. And when you want to change that, you do it without qualms. After all, your stuff is safe somewhere else.
So after three paragraphs of stating the obvious, I’ll get to the point. When you’re creating online content to help you market and sell, design it for the iPad. Better still, design it for the smart phone. Tablets and smart phones aren’t going away; quite the contrary. How does this affect content?
Here are some pointers:
* Easy to consume Make it consumable ‘on the go’. If it’s really thick stuff, then layer it. First a landing page, then a synopsis, then a longer summary and finally the brick of content, in a package that can be emailed or saved somewhere for later. Better still, start with video.
* Fun Content should be as fun or at least as interesting as possible. Say it straight, but present it in an interesting way.
* Visual Visual appeal is important, and that comes down to good design. Lots of things play into this: use of colour, size and shape of font, and where you place what’s most important: your essential message.
* Findable People aren’t always able to consume and digest content all at once, so make it easy to find. Yes, they can bookmark it, but do your search engine optimization homework, or put it somewhere that everybody knows how to find their way back to, like YouTube.
Strong content should work on all devices. To make sure yours does, design it for the smart phone and work backwards to the desktop, not the other way around.