Communicating across multiple platforms is skill professional communicators need to develop to remain relevant in any communications field. Creating content that incorporates the roles of the audience and the methods of interaction on different technological devices is a necessary consideration. Designing information as a strategic measure will help professional communicators create compelling content for a diverse audience using varied new media platforms.
Planning and Development of Visual Platforms
In an increasingly mobile society, content needs to be accessible across a multitude of platforms (Handley and Chapman, 2012, p. 13). Developing and planning content for continuity of platform creates consistency for readers, which is important for lasting business relationships. Even though society has adapted to a more mobile use of media, maintaining information that is accessible in desktop computer form is relevant. McGrane (2013) indicates that audiences do not think of different platforms such as smartphones, tablets, and personal computers as separate containers for content but as windows into one container. Recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of story telling with new media is a necessary skill for creating continuity and simplifying the user experience. According to Kolodzy (2013), a professional communicator should determine the best use of words, pictures, and sound to create suitable media that best serves the audience.
Strategic Design for Creating Continuity across Platforms
The audience, purpose, and context are the three key elements for creating continuity in content across different devices. Kostelnick and Roberts (2011) describe the audience as the group communicated to, the purpose as the point of communicating information and the context as the circumstances the audiences is accessing the information communicated. Drafting content to meet the different demands of visual design can include spatial modes and arrangements. The size and shape of a screen should be factored into continuity across platforms. Continuous scrolling and landscape orientations perform differently on a tablet versus a desktop so a professional communicator needs to address how icons, links, logos, photographs, and text will transverse (Kostelnick and Roberts, 2011).
Moving from one form of technology to another should be a seamless transition for content. Beebe, Beebe, and Ivy (2009) define noise as the “interference, either literal or psychological, that hinders the accurate encoding or decoding of a message” (p. 12). Reducing visual noise by ensuring textual transition from devices is an important part of developing continuity. Visiting a website on a tablet in portrait orientation and visiting the same website on a desktop should maintain font style but shift typeface width to eliminate blank screen space (Kostelnick and Roberts, 2011). Linear components such as the visual elements of text should maintain consistency and the textual elements of width in the typeface should be applied to specific devices.
Conclusions of Interactive New Media Relationships
Audience participation through different modes of technology is a central aspect of website design in the 21st Century. Readers are beginning to expect that websites will work across multiple technological platforms so creating content that is not only engaging but is consistent is necessary for success. By examining how an audience interacts with new media platforms and applying writing strategies for developing appropriate content, a professional communicator can influence how information is distributed, perceived, and redistributed.
Beebe, S. A., Beebe, S. J., & Ivy, D. K. (2009). Communication: Principles for a Lifetime. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon Pearson Education, Inc.
Handley, A., & Chapman, C. C. (2012). Content rules: How to create killer blogs, podcasts, videos, eBooks, webinars (and more) that engage customers and ignite your business (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley
Kolodzy, J. (2013). Practicing convergence journalism. New York, NY: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.
Kostelnick, C., & Roberts, D. D., (2011). Designing visual language: strategies for professional communicators. (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Pearson.
McGrane, K. (2013, January 23). Windows on the web. A List Apart. Retrieved from http://alistapart.com/column/windows-on-the-web