Designing for Time-Shifted Reading
A recent article says that our reading patterns with digital information have been affected by mobile devices. More and more, we are time shifting our reading away from our PCs during the day and onto mobile devices during commute times, or later at night.
Widgets like Instapaper may be tiny but their effects are huge, and it makes me wonder: What does this mean for those of us who design reading experiences?
When I look at this graph I notice that the morning provides short, focused time for taking in information. This seems well suited to two tasks in particular: "shopping" for longer pieces to read and skimming diverse topics to get a lay of the land.
The periods in the evenings that last longer are for reading the "well" of magazines, features and op-ed pieces.
In designing reading experiences for tablets and handsets, designers can look to include this context in their UIs.
Thinking back to my previous post about interactive magazines, this data seems to support the idea that readers need help keeping focus while reading in their slices of time. Our challenge is to keep the social, engaging aspects of digital media without being overly distracting. Let's help people prioritize reading and focus, and make exploration and social functionality a secondary focus. While Flipboard and Twitter are exciting and useful, they aren't publications, and this data suggests that real-time flows of data are only part of what people value.