Digital publishing has led to an integration of media into our daily lives. When we socialize on Facebook, for example, we see posts informing us of what’s going on in both people’s personal lives and in the world around us. News sites bombard audiences with information on various channels, which can lead to burnout. That can cause people to take a break from social media and other forms of publishing. How can digital publishers design news for those who are burned out?
Provide news in smaller, well-categorized formats
One first step might be to return to publishing a brief synopsis of news. This lets people retain key points when they choose to opt into the news, and digests can be provided daily, weekly or even monthly. We can divide these synopses further by sector, so those interested in the business news can choose only to be updated on that topic.
Over the recent U.S. election cycle, for instance, it was hard for anyone to escape the proclamations of the various candidates and the numerous stories surrounding the process. What if you don’t care about politics? What if you don’t want to see the front-page news that someone else deems important? Tagging is easy in many forms of digital media, and accurate tags ensure accurate focus for the audience.
Websites might look at tailoring the news more accurately toward specific interests. If you’re interested in sports, you should be up to look at sports news without accessing articles on trade agreements or business news. Tags and categories can be used with cookies and other digital publishing tools to serve up appropriate news for each user or to allow readers to customize digests.
Use mouseovers to inform the audience
It’s also time to make better use of mouseover text. These texts appear only when you hover your mouse over specific words or images, and they can be used to provide additional information or references for interested readers or those who aren’t completely caught up on the news cycle.
State of Digital Publishing believes user experience contributes heavily to the success of your site. Enabling people to catch up rapidly after taking a break from news without putting otherwise irrelevant information directly in the story is a great way to boost that experience.
Thanks to the way digital publishing is structured, there are dozens of options to make it easy for people to opt out of the news and check back in again. There are no longer real limits to data and functionality, so we believe it’s time to start focusing on news that individual readers want to see.
As a reader or audience member for news, what is the best way for you to receive information? What type of news publishing behavior do you feel contributes to burnout?
Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.