Websites for mobile news is a topic I’ve been working on lately. I’m pretty focused on news and technology now, as I am in Pittsburgh working for a newspaper. In the process of researching this topic I came across a report on the state of the media that involved a survey of mobile users. The link to the report is at the end of this article but here are some highlights:
Mobile news reading is an activity that is slanted towards younger people. Mobile readers are more likely than non-mobile users to use social media sites. More than half use 6 or more platforms to get local news and information. But, here’s a stickler: only 1 in 10 use a mobile app to get local news, even though 1/2 use mobile devices to get local news.
My comment on that is that I 100% agree with those who use the mobile. browser to get local news. I do that too, and I avoid sites that put up mobile only versions of their websites. I have found it very frustrating to use a site on my computer and then, while out and about, to check out the same site and see a fraction of the information. I want the whole enchilada. I want a mobile device that can display the real website even though I am over 60 and my eyes are not sharp. I want a site that handle enlarging the text and pictures. I’ve seen it done. I know it can work and I suspect everyone will be doing it.
Another thing about mobile users is that they are much more active news users than
Mobile useage tends to rise with income and it has a non-white skew. It is also more prone toward suburban users. The longer a persons tenure in their current community, the less they use mobile devices for getting news.
So, for general news sites my opinion is that efforts should be focused on making the web site work for mobile devices rather than spending a lot of resources on an app.