As part of the launch of the Mobile White Label Series for Stations (available in SRC, login required), we are profiling mobile efforts at stations throughout the system on a variety of topics, ranging from mobile giving to the differences between mobile Web and mobile apps. Over the next six weeks, these stations, who are part of the Station Mobile Working Group, share their experiences, plans, successes and lessons learned about mobile.
This week's interview is coming from San Diego, California, where Leng Caloh, Interactive Strategies Manager, and Nathan Gibbs, Web Producer, spoke to us about KPBS's mobile efforts.
What motivated you to pursue mobile, and how did you develop your initial mobile strategy?
Distributing content on mobile was a natural extension of our shift away from being solely a traditional broadcast organization. Mobile was another platform on which we could distribute our content. Once we got content staff on board with the idea of posting web content, it was a logical step to develop the technology to distribute that content on mobile platforms. In 2008 we received funding from the founder of Qualcomm (mobile chip maker) to develop a mobile site and daily news email as part of our multiplatform reporter training project.
We started developing our plans for the mobile site in the fall of 2009, shortly after the launch of Android OS. Our strategy was driven largely by analytics and mobile trend research. Our first task was to analyze the existing mobile traffic coming to our main site, as well as the traffic coming to the mobile KPBS/NPR site developed by NPR. We matched that to national mobile usage trends.
We prioritized our design based on the device usage stats from kpbs.org and KPBS/NPR Mobile. Rather than making a site that looked good only on an iPhone, we aimed for a more universal design that would also look good on a Blackberry (our 2nd highest device source at the time). Our reasoning for this arose from the fact that iPhone traffic to the KPBS/NPR Mobile site decreased significantly after NPR launched their iPhone traffic – leading us to believe that iPhone users were more likely to use the NPR app than visit our mobile site. Also, our full site looked decent on the iPhone screen. So in a sense we designed to a lower common denominator, instead of to the “latest and greatest” smartphones. We even tried to factor in how the site would look on an older “flip phone” with Internet access.