Mobile as New Medium

While prepping for my talk tomorrow on mobile publishing at the Digital Publishing Group in New York, I was also popping in and out of a related ongoing email conversation about textbooks and iPhones, and couldn’t help but weigh in on the question of how to handle some the issues like cross referencing and annotations on the iPhone compared with in a textbook. Several people suggested the comments were worth sharing with a larger audience:

These are relatively minor technical problems that generally already have solutions. The bigger issue I see is that thinking of the problem as “how do we get a textbook onto an iPhone” is framing it wrong. The challenge is “how do we use a medium that already shares 3 of our 5 senses — eyes, ears, and a mouth — along with geolocation, color video, and a nearly-always-on Web connection to accomplish the ‘job’ of educating a student.” That’s a much more interesting problem to me than “how do we port 2-page book layouts to a small screen.”

Mobile is big on the agenda at TOC Frankfurt, TOC New York, and I’m sure will come up during the upcoming TOC online event.

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