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Building For A Post-mobile World - Jeff Eaton - DrupalCon Portland 2013

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Session: Building For A Post-mobile World

Speaker: Jeff Eaton
Twitter: eaton eaton

Day - Time Slot: Tuesday, May 21 - 03:15pm–04:15pm

Session page

Mobile is today’s crisis

  • Users see their devices as different windows on the same content, not entirely different containers.
  • Mobile is primary internet access for 15% of adults, 25% of teens. Can they see your content? Source
  • 45% of mobile usage happens at home
  • 90% of people split tasks between mobile and desktop devices
  • People find news on desktop in the morning at home and read it on the train on their phones
  • 68% avoid desktop site if mobile site breaks
  • Apps are not a silver bullet
  • High cost. Feature-rich mobile apps cost 50–150k, but 60% are never downloaded.

RWD(Responsive Web Design)

  • Ever increasing number of breakpoints. More than iPhone, iPad, and Desktop
  • How do you drag a Google glass?
  • How do you capture a hard stare(Google Glass).
  • TV’s are not mobile but they have browsers that pretend to be mobile
  • 46 Million Xbox live users

Multi-channel publishing

  • You have an app and a website… No you have many more channels.
  • Links shared on mobile devices
  • Email: Many different constraints
  • Data feeds for partner sites
  • Print
  • API’s
  • Search
  • Social

Forked Content Doesn’t scale

  • As channels multiply we maintain the many versions of the content
  • Content creators can’t keep up
  • One solution is to hire more people
  • Another is to cut back on content that is created
  • “Maintaining tailored content for each device and channel is unsustainable.” Jason Pontin
  • Adapting to new channels is an old problem: CD ROMs, and online services
  • We don’t know what the next thing is
  • Plan for the future or pay to rebuild

There is a Solution

  • Rather than focusing primarily on presentation, ensure that content is accurate and available. Digital Government
  • How people are repurposing government data like spending
  • Large enterprise businesses
  • Technical writers
  • News media (NPR’s COPE)

Manage one pool of content

  • Create once publish everywhere (now moving to CAPE, create anywhere publish everywhere)
  • NPR has a ton of channels.(Desktop, mobile, iPhone, Android, Partner, Microsite, Youtube, Social)
  • Rich meta data is included when their content is linked on social networks.

Structure content for remixing

  • Chucks vs. Blobs(design separated from content)
  • Drupal has structured data, field api, and entity api for example.
  • No formatting. Stories are not modeled after a page layout.
  • Structured content can be put together in interesting ways.
  • Well-structured content is like a tangram puzzle: simple elements can be rearranged to form many shapes.

Decouple content, presentation

  • End points get content from the API

Cost effective

  • NPR doubled their online audience in 12 months

How do we do this in Drupal

  • Model what you have not how you want to display it
  • Know why each element matters
  • Learn from DBA’s and markup purists
  • Kill the dreaded “iPhone field”
  • Test models with multiple channels
  • Model meaning on layout
  • If writers are writing titles that are too long on iPhone make a short title field not a iPhone field. Then it will work on device * in the future
  • Protect your assets. Protect the content you will need in 5 years.
  • Structural content. Can be a taxonomy. The date on an episode(Tech Guy Labs)
  • Presentational content: Slideshows. Driven by design, Ephemeral stuff.
  • Incremental approach
  • Expose and use content feeds. Great way to get started quickly.
    • RSS feeds
    • JSON feeds with views and views datasource
    • Services module
    • Consume feeds
    • Drupal 8!
    • TWIG! Can render templates in the browser on the client side


  • It privileges the device of the editor
  • Dreamweaver fields kill reuse
  • Visual layout runs the same risk(Spark and Panelizer). Privileges the device of the editor
  • Limit allowed tags, watch for abuse

Editors are most important users

  • Tailor tools for tasks and workflows
  • Let them control priority, emphasis
  • Don’t force them to be designers(Make sure you follow the style guide!)
  • Plan for long term maintenance
  • Reuse, don’t fork your content
  • Put purpose and structure first
  • Separate asset from presentation
  • Expose content to drive new channels

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Published by Bob Kepford

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