The Best E-Reader is the One You Already Have

Tyler Meier
April 8, 2013
Comments 0

We’re very pleased to introduce a new mobile format for www.kenyonreview.org!  Under development in January, February, and March 2013, we’ve now implemented a scalable CSS that formats to fit the screen size you are using. In simpler terms: look at kenyonreview.org on a desktop, and you’ll get the regular viewing experience. But visit on your iPhone, and you’ll have a parallel experience—our website will automatically reconfigure to make the best use of the smaller space, including redesigned navigation and slider functionality for the carousel feature on the KR homepage. To get a sense of how this works, you can visit kenyonreview.org on a phone to see it, or view it on a desktop and scale the window size down by moving in the corners to see how the formatting changes as the screen size gets smaller. Many of you know—we’re publishing four new pieces of web-exclusive creative content every two weeks on KROnline (often now with audio, a conscious move for the mobile audience); our blog has consistent and regular weekly updates, and the KR carousel features change often with additional highlights. We’re really excited about what kenyonreview.org has become, and at what it will be going forward.

And so we want to make it as easy as possible for you to read, enjoy, and react to what we are doing on the website. That want has guided our thinking behind this improvement to the KR website, coming on the heels of the complete site redesign launched in late 2011.

We’ve continually considered creating a dedicated app to house our digital efforts, but in each instance have ultimately decided against choosing a single platform for our electonric offerings, preferring instead the inherent agnosticism of the open internet and satisfying ourselves with the continual rise of internet connectivity. It is clear that the ability to be online in various ways will only continue to rise—which makes us feel stronger about our choice to invest in mobile formatting for kenyonreview.org, rather than in apps dedicated to specific platforms. This choice feels not only like a better one for KR, but also a better one for our writers and our readers—whether one-time, occasional, or regular.

Likewise, we chose to use a scalable CSS model for mobile formatting, rather than create a separate, distinct mobile website (you’ll recognize a distinct mobile site as “m.kenyonreview.org,” for instance). In a nutshell—we only want to make one website, not two, or three, or four. When you visit kenyonreview.org, whether on a phone or a desktop, you’ll be seeing virtually all of the same content, regardless of how that content is optimized for your visit.

And we owe our readers a debt of gratitude: the audience survey we did in the fall of 2010 helped us clearly see how we could improve kenyonreview.org from its prior iteration. Metrics from 2012 (the first year of using the new site design) have taught us how to best tweak the new website for readers. We also learned that our mobile readership in 2012 is noticeably stronger than it has been (all those iPhones!) and that this readership spends more time on our site, on average, than any other visiting demographic, including those from desktops. That helped us see that making a strong mobile experience would be relevant, important, and exciting. Take a peek at kenyonreview.org next time you’re on your phone or tablet. If you’re not reading us there, it’s easier to keep up with KROnline and our newsletter features there than you think. And as always, we welcome your feedback: https://www.kenyonreview.org/contact/

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