Mobile-first and the future of media

Mobile-first design is among the exciting forces shaping our media present and soon-to-be future. Take a look at the very platform (Medium) you’re looking at right now. Tablet-ized, app-like, tiled, mosaic formats are certainly exploding onto the scene. For sure, they will present challenges for brands that want to be relevant in these new forums.

In the past few months, we’ve seen consumer-tech site The Verge garner accolades and followers for its news design. Rebel Mouse is hot with a Pinterest-ish visual web style of surfacing all of your social content. Tech-industry insider blog PandoDaily’s redesign perfectly captures the new visual zeitgeist.

But it’s not just the hyper-trendy, bleeding-edge media companies pushing this new content format. Big media is getting in on the act. Just look at the amazing new USA Today, which just begs for you to interact with it. Consumer tech and news blog Mashable just unveiled a beautiful beta for what promises to be a unique “social, mobile and visual” experience.

As the old axiom goes, “three makes a trend” and there are definitely many more than a few media companies rethinking content presentation, surfacing and engagement. Whether it’s mobile-first, tablet-centric or simply app-like, the way forward will clearly be a “post-internet” experience that takes us to a new way of viewing our world and content. After all it’s the most logical progression. As I noted on the site eConsultancy:

How did you use the Internet to access data and content 10 years ago and how do you now? Back then, you typed a URL into a browser and you went to a website. Now, with your smartphone or tablet you go right to an app to consume content. More app-like experiences are the future.
I think the Internet as we know it will go away. Of course the structure and the networks will still enable communications, but what we call the World Wide Web will no longer exist.
See the Windows 8 interface (and the Surface RT version). Microsoft is clearly betting on the zeitgeist, creating a whole app-centric ecosystem. Check out the new RockMelt browser, or other new tablet-friendly, tiled mosaic experiences. These are our new dashboards to find, interact with and create content. Think of how long you still spend each day using a PC and ask why we don’t demand elegant interfaces that are similar to those on our tablets and phones.

It’s too early to know how brands and marketers will work within these new platforms, but for sure these media companies will look more at “native advertising” in-stream and in-content experiences that flow naturally in the interface. This certainly seems to present a new challenge and opportunity to rethink media and how consumers want to engage with content — and maybe even engage with brands as well.