Though still a fairly new medium, tablets have significantly changed the nature of human-computer interaction. They allow users to physically interact with feature-rich content in intuitive and innovative ways. As a result, it is not surprising that consumers are gravitating towards using tablets in order to engage with content that was previously accessed differently. For instance, according to a recent study of 9,513 Americans, 64% reported using their device to get news and 31% reported spending more time reading.
With news consumption being so prominent on tablets, it’s important to understand what this medium offers that makes it so appealing. Here is a list of features that makes tablet news unique:
There are numerous ways to customize one’s reading experience. For instance, users can curate their own content by pulling updates from user-determined sources using Rich Site Summary (RSS). Rather than getting the news from one newspaper, readers can combine articles from multiple sources into one reading experience.
Additionally, users can customize the news’ visual presentation with apps such as Flipboard, which takes news items from multiple sources based on a user’s preferences (or their own RSS feed if they so choose) and displays the content in a magazine-like format. However, the onus doesn’t have to be on the user to optimize content for tablets. For example, our own Uberflip software allows content providers to customize their publications for the web with social media integration, video and custom widgets.
Because newspapers are published once per day, they cannot compete with the immediacy of the Internet. Though desktop and mobile news services have been around for quite a while now, tablets allow readers to hold content with a level of comfort that cannot quite be matched with a laptop or smartphone. And, similar to a newspaper, a tablet is lightweight and can be taken anywhere.
Reading news on tablets can also be a very social experience. Readers can share articles via email or social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Additionally, conversations can emerge amongst the community at large. By using the appropriate hashtags on Twitter or using the commenting tools provided by the app/news provider, readers can participate in a public forum that would have not been possible otherwise.
Whereas newspapers are supplemented with static images, the reading experience on a tablet offers many more possibilities. Rather than having one image, articles can now have image slideshows to scroll through as well as high quality videos. Additionally, it is possible to provide supplemental information in the form of hyperlinks, which readers can click to be directed towards more information.
With new apps and formats constantly being developed, the tablet reading experience is sure to get even better with time. Are there any other things you like about reading on a tablet? Are you a devoted print reader who will never touch an iPad? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @Uberflip!