It’s a Tablet World


Who would have thought smartphone mania may be overhyped and the wearable computing buzz offers a red herring? Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the tablet, the portable Internet access device of choice.

Well, maybe not choice, at least yet. Smartphone sales still outpace tablets, but in a surprising recent study from Adobe, tablets now generate more web traffic than their pocket sized brethren. Even more powerful, people browse the Internet for longer periods of time than laptop and desktop users, and significant commerce is evolving.

From an impact standpoint, marketers need to consider tablets as a crucial form factor in generating content for customer experiences.

It’s ironic that this bigger mobile screen is generating so much momentum, while the Silicon Valley hype machine is taken with wearable computing, most notably with Google Glass.

Glass offers great dreams of what can be, and a bizarre marketing vision of cyborg life. Even in its optimal idealized state, Glass and other wearable computing forms don’t lend themselves to deep immersive experiences where someone can enjoy and play with content for extended periods of time like a tablet does.

Contextual marketing is all the buzz, today. The stakeholder drives context, the how and why they choose to interact with a brand. Once someone invests in spending time with a type of content, the tablet becomes their primary vehicle, making user experience something that supersedes bolt on web design.

Unique Design for a Differentiated Experience

Source: Melcher Media
Source: Melcher Media

Responsive design acknowledges that people move between devices sequentially and without thought. Rather than cramming a site into all of these different media to accommodate an assumed sequential brand experience, with tablets it makes more sense to create unique content that cater to the use.

Device experience differs with time of day and purpose, and so should the content created for it. In some cases, it may make sense to simply create a unique product for one type of medium.

One company agreed. Melcher Media recently released its study on tablet advertising “The Pool: The Tablet Lane” using an Android/iPad tablet format. This is a must read for any interactive marketer. The subject matter is an obvious fit for the medium, and the report itself is meaty, analyzing 1/3 of all U.S. tablet owners.

Navigating the report is a delight, allowing you to jump through the story of a tablet as medium, from history and qualitative insights through to data and successful models. As Marketing Pilgrim noted, the real joy in the report is the interactive slides, delivering greater information through the touch of a finger. Check it out.

Let’s say you are writing a book or a significant report like Melcher’s. Suddenly, the electronic version can become much more compelling with subject matter jumps, pictures and possibly videos. You create a transmedia experience that can weave in and out of the novel or nonfiction work. The nature of the tablet medium allows for a more dynamic experience.

As a writer and amateur photographer, I see strong possibilities to create diverse rich media experiences.

The truth is that we’re so focused on responsive design and Google Glass that we may be missing the boat. What do you think about the rise of tablets?