Launched! Three Stations Now Testing Mobile-Optimized Websites

May 18, 2012

We are excited to announce the launch of three stations on the alpha version of Core Publisher’s mobile-optimized website. Fantastic! But wait, what does that mean?

What are we trying to do exactly?
Data shows significant increases in mobile web usage over the last year, in general and on Core Publisher sites. According to our research, mobile users primarily want to read stories and listen to streams. It’s time to test this hypothesis. By creating a mobile site optimized for easier reading and listening on a small screen, can we improve upon our primary goals, which are to increase audience growth and engagement with our content?

What data are we looking for?
We want to know if users will read more, listen more, and come back more when given a mobile-optimized experience. Specifically we are looking at metrics such as bounce rate, page depth, usage of specific features (e.g., reading related posts and inline audio listening), repeat visitation, and exit pages.

What is an ALPHA release?
Alpha implies that the current version of our mobile site is not finished--for a very good reason. We don’t know yet if a mobile site centered around persistent station streams and easy-to-read posts will increase usage. Before building a system-wide solution for mobile web, we want to learn as much as we can about what mobile users do and expect. This will allow us to change the direction of the mobile site’s features based on what we learn.

Who are the pilot stations and how can I see their mobile sites?
KUTNews (http://kutnews.org/), Tri States Public Radio (http://tristatesradio.com/) and KBIA (http://kbia.org/)are currently piloting the new mobile theme. Visit these sites on your smart phone to see the mobile version of the sites.

Why mobile web and not an app?
Apps are great. Your devoted listeners will likely download your app and access your content and streams from there. But what about people who aren’t yet aware of your fabulous radio station? When folks on phones click through to your site from Facebook or an email from a friend, they’ll see your site, not your app. And we want to give them a great reading experience. Take a moment to read Steve and Keith’s post on Why Mobile Web Matters for the full story on why mobile web is critical.

What are our plans for the future?
Over the next month and a half we will be crunching data gathered from the mobile sites. At the same time we are investigating how our mobile player can work with various streaming platforms. Based on what we learn in this alpha test, we will enhance the mobile websites, and in late June/early July we will be piloting a beta version with more stations. Mid to late summer we will be investigating building mobile sites for stations not streaming with us or using Core Publisher.

Try the new mobile websites and let us know what you think!