Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Physical World Connection and Precision

In the last post I demonstrated how the Physical World Connection could enable a link between the paper version of the New York Times and the mobile version of the New York Times. But I argued that it would be even better if there were a connection between a specific component of the New York Times and a specific component of the mobile version of the New York Times.

A digression: Navigating a web experience on wireless devices sucks, even on the best phones. Lots of reasons for this, including small and non-querty keyboards, fat fingers on touch-screens, slow networks, small screens to look at, and frankly, poor design. There are steady improvements in all of these areas, but it will be a long time--maybe never--before navigation is really good. So, there is a A LOT of value in reaching the exact spot you want to without too much trouble.

So, why stop with the code on the front page of the New York Times? Why not have a code associated with every editorial item in the newspaper? (We'll get to advertising another time, but it is equally exciting). Remember, there is an infinite number of codes, therefore, incremental cost of each individual code created is negligible.

Take for instance an article today in the New York Times about the bailout of the big 3 auto makers. As I write this, the code presented here is a link to that particular article in the Times. I'm not affiliated with the Times, so I don't know if this link will gradually expire or change, or whatever, but if I were, I would be in a position to maintain this link forever.
With this code I've solved a potentially painful navigation problem, and I've also opened the door to lots of new opportunities. Now that the reader is on the mobile she can comment on what the bailout means to her and her family. The article could be longer or contain a set of links that would not have fit in the physical paper's space constraints. Lots of additional photos could be presented. Options to send the article to friends could be exploited.
At some point I'll talk about how codes can help sustain the whole print media concept. But I'll save that for another day.

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