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Experience Driven Content

3i1h7There was a time when the best way to communicate a story was in text. But the web wasn't made for text alone. A great story isn't defined by a format such as text, audio or video. A great story is driven by the reader experience, by the reader's emotional and intellectual journey.

Content cards are great for short term content, but they are not the future of content overall. Content cards are a convenient build-once deploy-everywhere solution, but they are far from the ideal reader experience.

As a reader, I want to be given the best possible format for my reading experience. Often, this won't even include very much text at all.

I am a commuter and I don't enjoy reading long form text off a screen. I am sure that Fortune's feature length interview on the history of Napster is thrilling, but it's too long to be comfortably read on a screen. I would love to listen to the audio from the interview. I would love to hear all of the umms and hmms that made the interview human, the subtle human intonations that are lost in text.

I would love to purchase not only the Jobs book, but listen to the original source material - the audio from the interviews. I'm confident that these would provide a heavily human, rough experience from which we could all draw our own conclusions.

The future of content will not be about a single format, but a dynamic reader experience that considers far more than the size of the reader's screen. Cards are a great way to consume short snippets of content. But text alone is rarely the best way to present long-form content.

We need to stop thinking of content as the linear words or images on a page and embrace content as an experience. Experience-driven content need not be heavily designed with rich HTML5 animations. GIFs can add motion and emotion to a still image. Downloadable audio of the complete interviews can bring the interview to life without the needed expenses of proper video production. We have the tools and the creativity, we need only to put them to work.

Experience-driven content need not be expensive. But you can bet your ass it will be compelling.

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