As smartphones take over the world and the impact of mobile seeps into every conference room, content creators are feeling the heat. Fortunately, the idea of prepping for the mobile revolution isn’t new. Leading brands have already explored ways to optimize their content for the mobile experience. I’m going to try to cover the relationship between the growing impact of mobile devices and content (very briefly).
One such way is Responsive Design (RD). The fundamental lesson learned from RD is the importance of adjusting, organizing and displaying content differently to be relevant to users on mobile devices. Semantically, the word “responsive” captures this method of optimizing content rather well.
One drawback of the RD approach is the loss of novel user and site experiences, however. Thankfully, thought leaders introduced an alternative to RD in the form of Mobile-First design. The concept is a bit like this: instead of peeling back a full website as screen sizes become smaller, design from the bottom up to optimize content for increased effectiveness and user experience. Can the concept be any more relevant to mobile devices? Semantically, the term explains itself superbly.
Unfortunately, Mobile-First design had a flaw too – content management. Curators needed a way to input content for mobile specific modules and thus, a mobile-first CMS platform was introduced. Except there were two platforms for content management now!
In comes Content Agnosticism, a means of freeing up content by making it flexible and formless. The crux behind Content Agnosticism is a shift towards publishing content as web APIs thereby centralizing all content and making it adaptable for multiple channels. This allows curators to use a CMS and content APIs to easily create a publishing platform that includes websites, applications, and native apps all from one single source.
It’s easy to see how relevant Content Agnosticism and mobile are when we see the advantages. But semantically, the term fails to encapsulate the advantages well enough. Perhaps it’s because during the evolution of mobile optimization and content, the focus shifted from end-user to content creator.
For instance, the word “agnosticism” speaks more directly to the content curator – the content is now freed up for use in multiple ways – when the potential benefit for end-users is what’s really interesting. Through content APIs, you can provide content that fits the end-user and device with precision, without having to re-invent anything. That’s the real value in this, yet the name is holding it back.
Imagine if we were to begin calling it “highly adaptive content” since that’s what end-users would experience. It would place focus where it needs to be and open up a new direction for content strategy and the mobile experience.