The mobile, another tectonic change for digital journalism

Mario Garcia is one of the most authorized “gurus” of the graphic design field of the newspapers, with more than 700 designs he has made for some newspapers throughout his artistic and journalistic career. Now he’s driving a change of helm for digital journalism; his slogan is: “let’s stop thinking on paper… to think on mobile.”

In short, he’s proposing that the current structures for the presentation of news, videos and graphics on the websites abandon the model of transferring the textual headlines and overall content right as it appears on paper.

Instead, another format should be assumed. It has to be consistent and practical enough to be applied to mobile devices, which are used today by an 82 percent of the entire global population. Here, the reading is vertical and not horizontal, and there must be a combination of three essential resources: an audio-graphic presentation or straightforward pictures, an attractive headline that says something else on top of the aforementioned graph, and a short conglomeration of text of at least five lines.

Mario resembles this model to the cut of a watermelon. It is served by slices to the users before the main dish is ready. It is, in practical terms, the offering of the news in smaller capsules, depending on the subject and availability of images.

In his book The Story, he offers solid arguments for “thinking about mobile,” and the techniques to achieve such mentality. An interesting fact is that the mobile phone is a permanent companion for the users. They access such screen an average of eighty times a day and consume over 12 hours of it every day as well, sometimes looking for news content and progressively keeping up with the news.

“Today we live in a mobile culture: thus, the art of narration demands that, once again, those who tell stories must adapt to a new medium to continue attracting users. With the phone as a constant companion, history has never been as close to us, meaning that safeguarding its purity is of pyramidal importance to keep the authenticity of its essence.”

In his research, Mario has found that mobile users do not usually watch videos in the morning, but at noon and that from 6 in the afternoon they dive through the networks looking for pieces of news stories. In this context, he suggests that digital content or news stories must adapt to the brain, eye and finger of the user, taking into account that people do not have the patience to watch videos that are many minutes long. Therefore, the mass of text and image should privilege the sense of brevity.

In this way, the user ingests the watermelon slices one by one… until they’ve consumed it completely.

– Translated from Spanish by Randy Rodriguez.