With an average of about 3.64 connected devices per person, it’s not enough to offer your content on just one platform anymore. Today’s most successful developers publish to a number of different devices. But while smartphones, tablets and wearables all fall into the category of connected devices, creating a uniform user experience across each platform is a mistake.
Each device type offers unique capabilities and, therefore, unique strengths. Wearables provide rich, digestible information at a glance, while tablets offer a chance for engagement with longer-form content and rich visuals. So when developing your content across multiple platforms, the context of use for each device should always be kept top-of-mind.
For The Washington Post, this was a guiding force behind their app development for the different devices within the Samsung ecosystem.
“We want our readers to be able to access Post journalism on whatever device or platform they prefer, so we tailor our products with that mind. Offering your content at scale shouldn’t compromise the user experience—in fact, it should enhance it and take advantage of the unique capabilities and strengths of that device,” said David Merrell, Senior Product Manager at The Washington Post.
David and his team first entered into the Samsung ecosystem with a Gear S2 watchface. Combining their access to election data with the knowledge that wearables users tend to glance at them for quick updates throughout the day, The Post created a customized watchface for political junkies. The tailored watchface featured an automatically rotating head-to-head candidate poll and a countdown to Election Day, while still allowing users to easily read the time. After their success in this endeavor, David and his team then decided to publish their core application to Galaxy Apps as well.
While it makes sense to have content overlap between a desktop site and a mobile app, David recommends customizing the design as a best practice. After all, smartphones are often used on the go, but their larger screens also allow for enhanced visuals and longer-form content.
“Phones and tablets allow for strong visual components, but they need to be made to fit there in a very specific way — not just repurposed from the web. At The Post, we adapted our mobile app from the website to include fewer articles at a time on vertically scrolling cards with strong visuals to take advantage of the screen size,” David said.
And since that core mobile app had already been live on other Android-powered app stores, David and his team had to make very few additional tweaks to get it featured on Galaxy Apps, mostly around payment flow and subscription model so The Post could offer Samsung users a four-month extended trial. All in all, the process to get their app live on Galaxy Apps only took about six weeks from start to finish.
For now, The Washington Post will focus on optimizing their mobile app — but the team may have future device categories in mind in the future.
“ We are excited to be reaching Samsung users by working with the Galaxy Apps team and we look forward to developing more products for Samsung devices in the future,” David said.
While the specific devices are unknown, one thing is certain —The Washington Post will continue to deliver a user-centric experience, regardless of the medium.