Three proven ways to ensure an excellent user experience in digital publishing

This is the first of a 3-part series on digital publishing written by students at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University), who are enrolled in its 4-year Graphics Communications Management Program, Canada’s only degree-granting program for future leaders in this field. We thank them for their time and their insights.

Digital publishing will only continue to grow, but in order to sustain its success, content must exist within a high-quality user experience. User Experience (UX) is a major element in the digital space and users are starting to place more value on their experience – sometimes even more value than the content they’re consuming! Satisfying this need requires three major components. Firstly, the content must be easily accessible. Accessibility in publishing allows for the largest impact by ensuring that content is reaching the most people possible. Secondly, digital interaction is one of the significant emerging trends in digital publishing as it distinguishes content through an enjoyable experience. Lastly, connection to an audience can amplify a user’s experience. This involves a variety of different methods in order to understand exactly what consumers are looking for, and then taking further action to satisfy those needs.

Accessibility
One of the biggest and most prominent aspects in the future of accessibility is the switch to mobile devices. According to an article from LinkedIn by M. Pui, the smartphone is becoming the largest source of news for users. This makes news easily accessible at all times, in a way it never was before. Rather than checking emails, watching TV or reading printed publications, mobile is the easiest way to reach users with 92% of people now owning a smartphone (according to an article by Quasa). Ensuring that all digital publications are compatible with mobile devices allows an organization to reach a greater audience, with a more personalized experience through individually tailored media. Ensuring that all digital publications are accessible from a mobile device to all groups of people is the best way to produce an effective UX. Aside from generating higher traffic, accessibility should be also be a basic and essential human right. In addition to legal requirements, accessibility should be prioritized for all digital publications because groups should never be excluded from accessing content.

Interaction
In order to create effective digital publications, it’s important to consider differentiating content through the use of interactive tools like audio and video. An article from PaperLit reveals that readers desire interactive content and it’s becoming a growing standard. By fulfilling this desire, the end result is a more effective UX. Additionally, this allows for more audience engagement. By adding multimedia content, publications are transformed into interactive experiences rather than static PDFs. With the growing demand for a more engaging and compelling user experience, it’s important to consider how the experience of a publication can be developed and improved (with the goal of increasing engagement) through the use of interactive media.

Connection
Arguably the most effective way to achieve an excellent UX is connecting and collaborating with an audience. Using a client-centered approach, where the users’ needs are the main consideration, allows for the creation of more personalized content. Customizing users’ media through personalization according to their desires will ultimately result in more engaging content. This can be done through surveys, questionnaires and analytics. To provide the best user experience, connective elements can be embedded right into a publication. Using these tools to fully understand how content is being received will also allow organizations to adjust accordingly, creating a better UX and a more successful publication in the long run.

Regardless of the quality of the content released into the digital world, the overall experience provided is what will stick with users. Excellent user experiences should reach as many people as possible through accessibility. Specifically for digital publications, there should be an interactive experience in order to satisfy users’ desires. Finally, these initiatives should always be measured for effectiveness and engagement with a target audience. In the future of digital publishing, UX is what will separate strong digital publishing from the weak.

Hope Ghobrial
Hope Ghobrial is an promising graphic designer, currently enrolled in the Graphics Communications Management Program at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University). She has completed various design courses, interned as an assistant graphic designer, and currently works in media marketing.

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