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May 06, 2009

Context variations

Through feeding and embedding, the same information now becomes available in different contexts. For those of you who reading this post from (a link on) Twitter it is different from those reading it on LinkedIn (where it appears as a feed on my profile).

The point is that the context influences the appreciation of the content by the reader. This is not new of course, but it does deserve attention. Especially when you accept that the user more and more designs his/her own experience of your content (e.g. by grabbing your feed and reading it from a personal portal site) or even reorganizes it (e.g. by using GreaseMonkey).

Also, browsers aren't a constant factor anymore. Especially (mobile) browsers in dedicated applications affect the context. For example, the iPhone Twitter app 'Tweetie' has its own browser with its own preferred functions like 'Add to Instapaper' (which is a quite different context in itself).

Since there are many variables in designing your content and its context - many of which turn out to be outside of your control - my advice would be to make it 'snack-size' with markers that allow the user to consume it bit by bit, eventually leading them to the place you want them to be.

Posted by Almar at May 6, 2009 09:15 PM


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