Tips for creating a great mobile-optimized experience – plus a few examples.
Readers respond best to compelling payoffs, especially when they consist of exclusive content that can be "found" via the digitally watermarked content. An existing website that can easily be found online is less appealing. The most successful payoffs provide readers with the opportunity to extend their interaction with the subject of a printed article, image or advertisement. Behind-the-scenes videos, interactive games, promotional offers, and the ability to share and save content are some of the most popular types of payoffs.
First and foremost you should create payoffs which are mobile-optimized. A payoff that is difficult to view and interact with on the phone screen creates a poor user experience. Readers are less likely to revisit payoffs if they are not designed specifically for mobile devices.
Payoffs should be engaging, but they don't need to be complicated. Readers enjoy simple activities like watching a short video or participating in a quiz, poll, or trivia game.
Test, test, and test again
Before adding hundreds of digital watermarks to your publication, we suggest doing a silent test. A silent test allows you to incorporate digital watermarks into your publication without readers’ knowledge. This approach allows you to secretly test the technology in real-world conditions, and see where the digital watermark embedding best fits your production workflow.
Always test your payoffs before you go to print. Make sure the correct URL is assigned to your payoff, and the payoff is mobile-optimized. Payoffs can look different depending on the type of smartphone and operating system a reader is using. You should test payoffs on different smartphones and operating systems before your content is live.
Without a doubt, streaming video is one of the most desirable methods to offer relevant, enhanced online content. Full motion video embedded into a physical printed document on a mass scale simply isn’t available at an affordable cost with today’s technology.
Unless you have an IT and web development team fully committed to running streaming media servers, it is much easier to upload your properly formatted video clips to a service specializing in on-demand delivery to mobile devices. It’s not advisable to simply host a video file on a conventional web server and link to it; this will require an almost full download of the video to the viewer’s device before playback, resulting in an unreliable and time-consuming experience. Services providing streaming video have technology in place to identify the capabilities of the viewer’s device and adjust the quality of the video accordingly in an effort to produce an uninterrupted video session. Data is delivered incrementally via a special streaming URL, rather than linking to a static video file.
If you’re only interested in streaming audio, these principles can be administered in the same manner, minus the video, for reliable delivery of music or sounds.
If you have no budget, YouTube is a great way to go. The collective power of Google’s engineering team ensures a consistent, reliable delivery of video to any number of mobile devices. The YouTube web URL for your video is the same for both desktop and mobile viewing.
The main disadvantage of YouTube over a commercial service is branding. Readers will always see the YouTube logo before your video plays and – depending on your device – will automatically be placed into the YouTube app. Some publishers prefer an uninterrupted brand experience – from the app to the web payoff. You will also have to check “Unlisted” under the privacy settings if limiting the video only for the readers of your digitally watermarked content.
YouTube accepts a wide variety of video formats for uploading, but the shorter the video, the faster it will buffer in your reader’s device. Try to keep video payoffs less than one minute for the consideration of buffering time and attention span.
Unlike YouTube, commercial services typically do not include any of their branding with customer streams. There is also a more direct line of recourse to address any issues with account performance. Some services to consider are listed below; however, please note Digimarc is providing this list as a starting point for your own research. The list below is not meant to be permanent or construed as an endorsement by Digimarc:
Preparing Video for Mobile Streaming
The standards vary by service, so please check the recommendations of your chosen service. Try to keep video payoffs less than one minute for the consideration of buffering time and attention span.
The standards and success rates of streaming video to mobile devices are often in flux. Hopefully this technology will soon evolve to be more stable, but until then it’s very important to select your audience’s most commonly used devices and focus on those for testing your payoffs. If that information is unknown, then it’s best to pick the most commonly used devices. If you’re having difficulty getting your video payoffs to reliably work, experiment with these various trouble-shooting criteria:
- Full URLs vs a shortened URL
- Link directly to a video stream vs. a web page with a clickable link to initiate the video
Mobile web pages
Before the rise of mobile devices, web designers only had to consider the proportion of graphics and text on a web page to fit a desktop monitor. While most smartphones today are capable of displaying web pages originated for full-size desktop browsing, creating web content specifically designed for the mobile screen presents a better experience for the mobile user. If done correctly, there should be no need to magnify the page to read, copy, and zoom out to navigate, and so on.
Before a service can be activated within the Digimarc® Discover Online Services Portal, the URL field must be completed. If entering a web address that is intended for a full-size monitor (i.e. your homepage), the page should identify visitors using mobile devices and automatically reformat the existing content or redirect the visitor to the same content within a separate, mobile-optimized page. Alternately, Digimarc encourages the development of relevant web page payoffs created specifically for mobile devices.
The Importance of Testing Mobile Payoffs
To a lesser degree than video payoffs, your mobile web payoffs – URLs and destination content – still benefit from testing on multiple devices. Not all mobile browsers handle technology in the same manner.
- For best performance across multiple mobile operating systems, Digimarc recommends, when possible, avoiding the use of shortening services for URLs entered into the Digimarc Discover Online Services Portal.
- The less redirecting of URLs the better
- For example, payoffs that mandate automatic redirection to video one time, then conditionally redirecting to web content the next, are more susceptible to failure.
- Static links to either video or web content are the most stable.