Why Not a Website

Website Or App

The web has become a means for sharing and consuming information. Many services exist to allow creators and readers to connect, from blogging platforms like WordPress, website creation platforms such as Squarespace, and even online publishing platforms such as Medium. With millions of people engaging in the world wide web on their computers and mobile devices, publishing on a website would seem the natural choice.

However, the web can be a distracting place. Many journalistic websites, no matter how professionsal or laymen, utilize sidebars or footers to showcase feeds from their social media sites. Others offer links to related articles either in the same areas or within the flow of the article itself. Enticing the reader to click on links is as much the intention of websites as reading the article, perhaps even more so depending on the publication. Unfortunately, this is the nature of the current internet.

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Then there are the ads. They can be completely distracting if not wholly disruptive to the reader’s concentration. Their placement are often intentionally set in the path of the reader or within eyesight because ads that are not seen, do not serve their function. This is the reason why ad blockers have become popular while browsers like Apple’s Safari offer a “Reader View” which strips away those distractions. Websites and/or blogs do exist which put their content front and center while paying the bills through discreet sponsorship or ad placements. However, these blogs are often centers for news, “bite sized” morsels of text which can be consumed rather succinctly.

Sadly, reading of long form articles on the web is becoming relegated to “passing time” when there’s nothing else to do. This could be an over generalization, but if the web has not become a place for quickly consumable information, then the usage of expression “TL;DR” would not have gained the common usage it has today, especially in the context of summarizing a lengthy article to its central points. Should the article be of interest, it can be saved and read later, but despite such intentions does the reader actually get around to reading it, or read it through the end? Interviews, admittedly, stride a fine line as a lengthy interview may still be easier to read or pick up reading again than a normal article due to variations in respondant answers, but managing their overall length, rhythm, and flow is still important as are additional feature which assist in keeping the reader engaged.

One critical element in an filmmaker interview is their filmography. With most entertainment websites, the filmography, if even offered, is usually a list of release dates and titles at the end of the interview/article or as text comprising part of the filmmaker’s biography. I want to offer a full filmography not only chronologically listing titles, but also includes a full introduction, synopsis, press notes, etc. for both the benefit of professionals and non-professionals alike. How is this accomplished on a website? If placed at the end of the interview, an already deep scroll-down length becomes much longer. A different web page linked to at the end of the interview runs the risk of readers moving on from interview without ever viewing the filmography. Moreover, the presentation would be exactly similar to website template, thus not distinguishing itself. With a magazine app, however, the filmography section can be customized to have its own look and feel separate from, yet integrated with the interview. The reader would swipe to the next “page” to view it, a more natural way of “moving ahead” than a link, with the added psychological benefit of marking the end of one section and the start of another. Additionally, swiping forces the reader to view the section while going on to another interview. If this action captures their attention enough to at least peruse through the filmography, a connection can be created between the filmmakers’ responses and the movies about which the questions are concerned. Finally, this all can happen without an internet connection. A magazine app is self-contained and is not affected by a server going down. A native app can be experienced anywhere and at any time. It is also updatable. Rarely do websites update their archived articles.

All things considered, however, there still is the option of engaging both an online and an offline presence. Several well known editorial websites such as Little White Lies release magazine apps containing curated content from their website while a number of print publications offer delayed release of their articles online. The precedent does exist for a dual strategy and is certainly not out of the question in the future. For now, however, the focus is on building an app.