Putting Content First: An Interview with Chris Collette

Chris Collette

Last week I had the chance to chat with Christopher Collette. Chris is currently a principal at Clarity Group. According to his bio, he has been “practicing content strategy long before it had a name.” I reached out to Chris because he is someone with a well-established career and is also an alumnus of Pratt SILS. I was curious to hear about his work over the last 20+ years as well as how he felt his MLIS degree has fit in.


 

Erin: So you do content strategy at Clarity Group?
Chris: Yes. Clarity Group is a collective with my husband and his business partner. Basically, I am an independent digital experience strategist of content. I really sit at the intersection of technology, user experience, business strategy, content and brand, and I kind of bring all those pieces together in whatever way. So obviously, being a content strategist, I put that at the forefront and say, “Well, if you’re designing any kind of experience or program, you really want to think about that first.” That, along with the other things that you think about as well like your technology solutions and your user experience. Essentially, what are you trying to solve in the business and how can we use these tools and disciplines and things to help to advance that?

Do you have projects you’ve particularly enjoyed working on at Clarity? Or could you just talk a little bit more about some specific examples of past work you’ve done?
Well, Clarity is a relatively new venture for us. We only came together around April, and the thing is, with Clarity, we work on projects together, but I still have my own clients. Each of the other partners in the venture also have their own clients. So we come together as this unit but we also do other things as well.

I think one of the projects that was the most exciting for me, believe it or not, was actually with Goldman Sachs. I was at R/GA at the time and I actually worked with them in two different instances. One was to re-haul their entire web presence back in ‘07/’08. We spent a lot of time, flew all around the world and got to do a lot of interviews. The interesting thing for me was that we really tried to put the content first and then design a system that was, I think, really quite elegant for them and actually really helped them. They basically wanted to be hated less; that was their big goal [chuckles].

Then we went back again a couple years later. I was still at R/GA, and we went and did what they called GSAM, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, which is a little bit of a different business unit. I really got some good ideas and principles of content strategy, and how you can actually use a content program to illuminate what the business is doing. For example, we were saying, “How do you illuminate the value that Goldman Sachs brings to the world as opposed to just making them a lot of money?” It was based on a lot of infrastructure projects around the world. We were talking about having a series on this thing that was in Venezuela or Peru where, because of this one sort of trolley system, they were able to bring a whole series of economic prosperity to a village that was basically cut off from being able to get from the village into one of the cities. Goldman Sachs did their funding, so we said, “That’s a feature story. Go take a photographer there. Get a videographer there. That’s the kind of stuff you need to be doing.” And that’s really a content strategy piece. Tell that story and it will soften all the other stuff. Like, “We’re not just making money for ourselves. The work that we do actually does good around the world.” So that was one of the things, I think, that’s sort of a classic example. Now they never did this because they couldn’t get past their own selves, but those are the kind of ideas that content strategy can bring as well as all the taxonomy and making sure things are tagged right and all that. But it’s really about using content to fulfill a business or a user goal. That’s what it really comes down to. It’s such a basic question, but the basic questions are sometimes the hardest ones to answer. You know, I’ll ask “What are you trying to do with your business?” I don’t care about your content or your design or your website or your app or your blog. What are you trying to do? Get more customers? And the answer initially will be like, “Uhhhhh, I don’t know, make more money.” Well, that’s not really strategy.

Sort of on the flip side of your experience with Goldman Sachs, what would you say are the biggest challenges that you face in the work that you do?
I think getting organizations to really understand this kind of stuff and why it’s so important. When we start these conversations, from the start–whether it’s from brand, whether it’s from content, whether it’s from user experience, whether it’s from digital–we try to get to that business question early on. Getting them to articulate a business strategy, I think, is the biggest challenge in anything. Otherwise, just do what you’re doing now. If you don’t have a strategy, why are you going to spend $2 million on your website if you don’t know what that website is trying to do?

I think another challenge is that organizations still are very traditional in the way they approach these things. So getting an organization to think in a digital-first way, at least in that kind of channel, is challenging. They produce content all the time. They put it out there because their boss told them to put it out there and then there’s the next one, and the next one, and the next one… They never look back and ask, “Did that have any meaning or value? Did anybody read it? Did it move the needle? And what’s the scale we’re trying to move the needle on?” So all of those things, I think, are really critical. Before you do any of this stuff it’s about asking those critical questions. Organizations don’t do it because it’s hard, and people have jobs that are tied to that and ways of doing things… “Well, Doris always did that. She’s written the alumni profile for 30 years for our magazine.” Well, do you still need that magazine? Probably not. But I think it really comes down to that challenge of asking “What are you trying to solve?” and then building up from there. Companies will go, “We need an app!” Ok, why do you need an app? Who’s going to manage the app? Who’s going to design it? Who’s going to update it? Organizations get sold these bill of goods and they say, “Oh yeah, let’s do this because we need to and because everyone else is doing it.” But they never ask the fundamental question: “Why?”

Haha, yeah. I can’t even tell you how many useless apps like that I’ve encountered.
Oh totally. I probably have 20 on my iPhone right now that I downloaded the first time I got my first iPhone 6 years ago. I haven’t opened them up since but they just keep transferring to the next iPhone [chuckles].

So I know you work at an agency now, and earlier you mentioned working for R/GA. Have you always worked for agencies? Have you ever worked in-house anywhere?
In my career I’ve been in three distinct kind of roles. I started in the agency world: Siegel+Gale, R/GA… I’ve been a freelancer who’s also worked with agencies as a freelancer, going in as part of their team. I’ve also worked in-house on the brand side, if you will. I worked at IBM for about 6 years. That was a huge education of understanding how a truly large business really works. It’s slow-moving, but when they make a move, they really move. I also worked with the College Board for a couple of years, and that was really interesting working at a non-profit. I really liked that experience a lot. They’re the publishers of the SAT, the Advanced Placement program, and a lot of education advocacy and things like that. I worked with them developing a content strategy, along with the user experience piece, to make sure that the content that was being published was actually helping the mission of the organization, which is really what content strategy is all about.

That’s really interesting. So what do you do now to keep up with what’s going on in the field? Are you in professional organizations? Do you read blogs, publications, anything in particular?
That’s a great question. I really try to keep abreast of current developments of what’s going on in the industry, even just through project work now as an independent consultant. We go in and then we will actually help organizations and firms sort of source the agency. Sitting with them and working with them, they sort of bring the ideas to us. But yeah, blogs… I’m teaching a course right now on content strategy, so just making sure I have the most up-to-date kinds of resources and things there. Obviously, reaching out, getting involved in the community, and engaging with them in the dialogue. I’m not a big tweeter. I’m not a big person on industry conferences and things like that, but I do try to keep up with all that as a consumer of information and then bring that to my client work and for courses. I deliver webinars. I do sort of co-review sessions for organizations where I come in and give them a primer on content strategy, how it integrates with their business, and where the pain points are.

Neat! Where are you teaching?
I’m teaching at Columbia University in their Master’s of Strategic Communications program. It’s actually an all-online course, which is very interesting. It’s done through Adobe Connect and all the content and everything is written in the whole platform so there’s no in-person kind of teaching, which is an interesting dimension of delivering it.

That is interesting. I’ve always wondered what taking an online course would be like. Pratt doesn’t offer any classes online.
There are pros and cons. I just had my first session a couple of days ago and it went well, but it is very different. I actually taught at Pratt as well a lot of years ago for about 12 years in the Design Management program. That was all in-person, so I was very used to that rhythm. It’s different when you’re in this mediated environment where it’s you and a webcam and a headset. It’s kind of cool.

That does sound cool. Well Chris, thanks so much for talking to me today, and I just have two more questions for you. As you know, I’m concentrating in UX at SILS. Something that my classmates and I have noticed when we talk to people working in UX is that a lot of them are sort of perplexed by our LIS degrees. I guess they’re used to people coming out of programs like General Assembly. As a Pratt SILS alum, how have you found your LIS degree to fit into the field?
I think it’s actually the best degree to have to approach user experience and content strategy because it gives you depth and dimension in a way that other fields of study don’t. I think it’s probably the most perfect fit for this work because you know, we think about taxonomies, we think about information and how it’s structured, and we think about user behavior. I even mean some of the courses we take as part of the foundation like that one having to do with research methods that’s part of the core four classes. It’s all about how libraries are delivering information. They’re engaging with people, and you have to go do a reference interview in-person, over the phone, and through chat. Those are user experiences. People seeking to find a solution to a task or to complete a task: that’s user experience. It’s designing a system. So, who better, especially when we’re talking about information and information in digital systems, who better equipped than people who are skilled in library science? I think sometimes it takes a little bit of explanation, but once people understand that…

I also think we, as librarians or trained as librarians, are inquisitive by nature, which I think is also one of the key tenets of the User Experience person. It’s not presuming that something is; it’s asking questions and observing, and then designing solutions around the information that you gather. For instance, if you put the desk here and you want people to come through here, but they’re actually going around the desk to do what they needed to do back there, then just move the desk. Design a solution in that way. It’s really the best training ground, I think, for this kind of work.

Yeah, I agree with you completely. It’s actually really helpful to hear you articulate it this way, because it’s going to be helpful for me when I have to advocate for librarians when I go out into the world. So I just have one last question for you: Do you have any words of wisdom or quick tips for grad students like me about to enter the field of UX?
Be engaged. Reach out. Use the network. Use the community. I think the User Experience community, especially the Content Strategy community, is so welcoming and it’s ever expanding. We are always looking to help people come along, to mentor, and to find projects to do. Even though it seems this little piece you’re doing may not be the grand content strategy or user experience, just get experience. Start working with the tools and the principles and start doing things, and then just build from there. Again, reach out and use the network. I’ve been so fortunate to have been in this community for 20+ years of my career, and I’ve met so many great people who are still colleagues and friends and peers. It’s all about collaboration. There’s more work to go around than there are good people to do the work, quite honestly. So always just engage engage engage.

Asking Why: An Interview with Natalie Blair

Natalie Blair

I recently had the opportunity to interview Natalie Blair. Although Natalie and I are acquainted through our mutual love of roller derby, I wanted to pick her brain on her experience transitioning into the field of UX and to see if she had any pieces of advice for someone hoping to do the same. Natalie works as a UX Designer/Producer in New York at Tigerspike, a mobile technology company, and is an “enthusiastic champion of the ‘why?’” Recently, she wrote an article on UX for Medium.com that touches on many of the subjects brought up during this interview titled, “What Designers Can Learn From the Stage or — How to Upstage your Content and Annoy Your User.”

Erin: So you are a UX Designer/Producer at Tigerspike, could you briefly discuss the work you do there, your role and responsibilities?
Natalie: UX Designer/Producer is what it says on my business card, and while I started out doing more Project Management in addition to UX, I’ve phased almost 100% into UX. I also have projects on the side where I do a lot of Product Development and Management. The area of UX I’m currently grooving in is production. I do a ton of research around competitive and comparative analysis, IA structures, UI patterns, and then another ton of wireframing/prototyping. Outputs differ with the client – one wants highly detailed annotated wireframes because it’s a fully waterfall process. Another is fine with static visual comps because they are just about getting stakeholder buy-in. Another one wants a working prototype with a style and interaction guide instead of detailed traditional documentation. I’m lucky that I get to work with clients that have so many different ways of working – I’ve learned a ton about processes and how to adapt to different projects. At Tigerspike, I am across a ton of projects right now including the Aveda flagship app, a huge banking intranet, and an industrial engineering company’s site. The biggest project I’ve worked on was DIRECTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket 2015. I designed the Sunday Ticket app for a ton of platforms including iOS, Android, Windows8, Roku, Apple TV, PS4, Chromecast, and Xbox.

What do you like most about your work?
I like working with different clients who have cool problems to solve. I love seeing the minutia of the bigger picture and pushing out the edge cases. Sure – your user logs on to your site and buys something. But where are they when they are looking at your site? What device? Is it hot out? Do they have gloves on? Do they have reception? What will they do after they complete their purchase (or don’t)? I like seeing the user journey from nose to tail. Also – I love asking the question “why” because it simplifies things and allows clearer product definition which are tighter guardrails for the design which creates new puzzles to attack. Constraints breed creativity. If there isn’t a problem we are trying to improve upon, I’m not really excited about making just another crappy app.

And what do you find most challenging?
Mostly the same stuff – working with different clients also means having to learn and re-learn how to work with different company structures, politics, and approval processes.

One of the interesting things I’ve found about the field of UX is how diverse it is–it attracts people from a variety of different backgrounds. Could you tell me a little bit about your background? How did you find yourself working in UX?
I was an actor for about 15 years. An actual actor making a living in NYC and I realized I hated it. I had learned design software while I was building my personal brand and the brand of the theater company I helped start (Nicu’s Spoon Theater), and realized I liked that better. I fell into technology by doing software testing for a digital imaging firm part time which turned into a full blown QA job. I loved putting on the different user hats and saying “This is a photo printing website and my grandmother couldn’t use this. That’s a problem – let’s find a way to make it better for her.” I took some time away from tech after that company folded and did a lot of PR and Marketing work as well as some organization building. While I was working at a horrible job as a College Communications Advisor, I realized I hated my job so I quit and and went to General Assembly for formal UX training. I realized I had the concepts and tools already – I just didn’t have the vocabulary. Basically – UX Design is the job I was born to do – it just didn’t exist until now.

Where do you see your career headed? Any long-term goals?
Right now, I’m really happy just digging into any project I can get my hands on. There’s so much out there to learn in terms of tools, languages, design concepts, and processes. There aren’t enough hours in the day! In the long term, I’m looking towards a senior role, working my way to helping build and lead a team of designers. I have a history in team building and coaching so I feel like the work I’m doing right now will dovetail into that position eventually. I’m just concentrating on doing good work until then.

UX seems to be changing all the time. How do you stay current on new developments in the field?
Actually – I don’t feel like UX is changing. People are realizing they need it so it’s getting more visibility, but it’s really the same as it ever was – even before the field had a name. The bottom line is that you need to know and empathize with your user and their desires, hopes, wishes, dreams, and goals. Even if it’s just redeeming rewards points for a coffee. Do something that makes them feel something and you’ve given them an experience. Now just make it a good one so they keep coming back.

But how do I stay current on tech and design developments – that’s a different story. That’s a ton of work. I do a lot of extracurricular classes, workshops, seminars, readings, and meetups. I follow cool people on twitter and go down lots of rabbit holes they send me down:

  • Mona Patel @monapatel – CEO, UXHires and Motivate Design
  • Jared Spool @jmspool – “the father of UX”
  • Mike Monteiro @monteiro – Founder of Mule Design and author of “Design is a Job”
  • Nick Finck @nickf – Sr. Manager of UX at Amazon Web Services

Some resources I regularly read/visit to include:

  • Sidebar – a daily dose of 5 articles about design and design thinking. It’s sometimes all I have time for and they do a good job of picking out relevant and provocative pieces.
  • Meetup.com – I go to one or two a month. Sometimes they are great, sometimes blah but the good outweighs the bad ones.
  • Fast Company Design – sometimes hit and miss but it’s certainly a staple of places to learn about trends and happenings in the industry.
  • Panda – I also installed the Panda extension to my chrome browser. When you open a new blank tab, it shows you design news and inspiration. It’s a little regular reminder to check in on the cool design stuff in the world when I’m eyeballs deep in wireframing minutia.

Other places to keep an eye on for events and seminars include: The Design Gym, IDEO, A List Apart, IxDA, Gamestorming.com, and Smashing Magazine’s blog. I also follow a bunch of UX and Design thinking topics on Flipboard.

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions. Last question for you: Do have any advice for grad students like me hoping to break into the field of UX?

  1. Remember that there is no “right” way to do anything. It always “depends.” It feels like we are making it up all the time because we are. And that’s ok.
  2. Read Mike Monteiro’s book “Design is a Job” and take all his advice for working with clients.
  3. Your project/feature/idea will be de-scoped. Most stuff that is designed falls on the cutting room floor. It happens. You and your designs are not a precious, special snowflakes. Get over it and solve some other problem.
  4. Never, never, never stop asking “why?” Why are we putting this feature in? Why does this thing have to animate? Why does the world need another dating app? Don’t build another half baked, crappy app or feature if there’s really no problem it’s meant to solve. There are real problems in the world – let’s find elegant ways to solve them instead.

“Is Design Metrically Opposed?”: Balancing Quantitative & Qualitative Metrics

Image of Jared Spool

Jared Spool presenting at the IA Summit, April 2015. (Source: Kevin M. Hoffman)

Last week I was fortunate enough to attend the 16th annual IA Summit in Minneapolis, MN. According to its homepage, the IA Summit is “the world’s most prestigious gathering of information architects, user experience designers, content strategists, and all those who work to create and manage information spaces.” The conference was nothing short of amazing–it was as entertaining as it was intellectually stimulating. I came away from this experience with a richer understanding and greater appreciation for IA and the field of user experience as a whole, and I made some new friends in the process.

Although I could elaborate on nearly every session I attended, one in particular stood out to me when thinking about its relationship to usability testing: Jared Spool’s Is Design Metrically Opposed? Spool began by discussing how observations lead to inferences, which then lead to design decisions. He explained how one observation (e.g., the average time spent on a page drastically increases one day) could lead to a variety of inferences that all have drastically different design solutions. So how do we know which inference is correct? The answer is simple: do more research.

The bottom line when it comes to metrics is that the data provided by tools like Google Analytics and Net Promoter can’t tell us why the numbers are what they are. However, Spool explained we already have the tools to help with this and just need to use them to our advantage such as customer journey maps. A customer journey map tells the story from the user’s perspective of their relationship with an organization, service, product or brand, over time. We can produce these through usability tests and user studies and then use them to hone in on exactly what was frustrating and what was delightful about the user’s experience.

Customer Journey Example

A simple example of mapping a customer’s journey. (Source: usability ed)

To illustrate, Spool provided a case study from a recent project he worked on to improve the checkout process on a major e-commerce website. After creating their customer journey map and seeing the site’s page view data for each step of this process, Spool and his team observed that there was a huge drop between the review shopping cart and shipping information tasks. When they showed this observation to the client they were told not to worry about it and that “75% of all e-commerce sites have abandoned shopping cart issues.” However, the team did continue to worry about it and through user testing in the lab, what they found was that users needed to login in order to make a purchase and often users had trouble remembering their account information. This resulted in users having to go through a number of extra steps in order to still make a purchase–steps that were unaccounted for on the team’s initial journey map. The team then requested the page view data for these extra steps and noticed a steady decline with each task. They then asked for some data that was not readily available: how much money was in these “abandoned shopping carts.” When they finally received it what they discovered was that the total loss in revenue due to the account sign-in issues was around $300 million per year. They took this information to the client and proposed a guest checkout solution, which was approved. After this change was implemented there was about a $300 million increase in the site’s revenue. Coincidence? We think not.

So how did Spool and his team make this success happen? He explains that it was by combining qualitative usability research with quantitative custom metrics. In the example above, it was the custom metric of “unrealized shopping cart value,” not page views, that ultimately saved the day. If the team had just stopped with their initial inferences (e.g., it was normal to lose customers during the checkout process, there were no extra steps between the review shopping cart and shipping information tasks) they would have never gotten to the bottom of the issue and the guest checkout solution never would have presented itself.

Is design metrically opposed? Although Spool never directly answers the question, I would have to say no. That being said, what I took away from this session was that as UX designers we should customize metrics with the end goal in mind and stop jumping from observations to inferences too soon; we should experiment based on our inferences, instead of stopping with the first one. Through research we can turn our inferences into observations which will allow for better design decisions because “observations trump inferences every time.”

References:

 

Sky Guide iPhone app (good design)

Sky Guide, a star and constellation guide for iPhone is a brilliantly simple and intuitive app that adds a fun new dimension to stargazing for all ages.

Sky Guide’s conceptual model perfectly aligns with the mental model of stargazing. Although Sky Guide provides no instructions when opened for the first time, users can instantly infer what to do. Once the app is opened, the user simply has to hold the phone in the direction they are looking to see what stars, constellations, and planets are in front of them. As the user and their iPhone change directions (left or right, up or down) Sky Guide moves with them. However, Sky Guide has not constrained its use with the act of actually moving the iPhone around. If they prefer, users may also hold their iPhone still and simply swipe around the sky with their finger to get the same effect without having to physically move themselves or their phone around at all.

Screen shot of Sky Guide.

Screen shot of Sky Guide.

Screen shot of Sky Guide aimed in a different direction.

Screen shot of Sky Guide aimed in a different direction.

Both of the methods of stargazing with Sky Guide described above are excellent examples of natural mapping (i.e., taking advantage of physical analogies and cultural standards for immediate understanding). Like a camera, Sky Guide can work by moving and aiming the iPhone towards the section of the sky users are looking at. Similarly, Sky Guide can also work by the user swiping around the sky much like they would a map in the Google Maps or Apple Maps apps.

Sky Guide also makes its affordances very clear, i.e., if something in the app looks like it can be selected for more information, it can. For example, if a user points their iPhone in the direction of a constellation, Sky Guide will overlap that constellation with its name, lines connecting the stars of that constellation as well as an an image of what that constellation represents. The user is then able to click on that constellation and pull up a page for more information. Furthermore, the user then also has the option to either go back to the sky or read through the description and possibly click one of the links to another constellation, star, planet, galaxy, etc. These links are always visible and made obvious by being blue whereas any non-linkable text is white.

Screen shot of Sky Guide after selecting Vega. Note the links back to the sky as well as to the page on Lyra both in blue.

Screen shot of Sky Guide after selecting Vega. Note the links back to the sky as well as to the page on Lyra both in blue.

Screen Shot of Sky Guide's settings page.

Screen Shot of Sky Guide’s settings page.

Besides the links described above, Sky Guide has also made its other features appropriately visible without keeping them on screen permanently. When initially opening the app, and whenever users touch the screen, a search link (identified by the universally recognizable magnifying glass icon)  and a link to the app’s settings (an icon of 3 horizontal lines, which are easily recognizable for iPhone users) appear, but if the screen is not touched again the links will simply fade back out until the next time the screen is tapped. Again, because of Sky Guide’s excellent conceptual model users instantly know how to interact with these two functions because they are familiar to any iPhone user.

The Chronicle iPad app (bad design)

The Chronicle of Higher Education is the leading news source for all things academia related in the United States and around the world. As a subscription incentive, The Chronicle boasts that print subscribers also receive free access to the Chronicle’s digital edition via their iPad app. As a print subscriber to The Chronicle and an iPad owner, I was excited at the prospect of having immediate access to each new edition and not having to wait until my print edition arrived by mail each week. However, after downloading The Chronicle app my excitement quickly turned to disappointment as it seemed less like an added bonus for subscribing and more like an afterthought due to the overall poor design of its user interface. This can best be explained by applying Don Norman’s “principles of good design” from his book, The Design of Everyday Things.

One of the biggest flaws in the design of The Chronicle’s app are its lack of affordances (i.e., suggestions on how to interact with it). For example, there are no clues whatsoever that the digital edition of the Chronicle is only viewable in Portrait orientation. In fact, it actually offers clues to the contrary. When opening the app while the iPad is in landscape orientation the initial screens will also be in landscape orientation, and there is also a news feed function within the app that connects to The Chronicle’s webpage, which can also be viewed in either portrait or landscape. Furthermore, the screenshots of the app on its iTunes store page are misleading and actually show a digital edition of The Chronicle being displayed in a landscape orientation. However, once the actual digital edition of The Chronicle is selected in the app it will always come up in portrait mode regardless of the current orientation of the iPad itself. When I first noticed this problem I assumed it was a mistake and searched through the app to see if I could change the settings, but no such setting seems to exist nor was it stated anywhere that digital edition can only be viewed in portrait mode. This is especially frustrating for me as I prefer to keep my iPad in a keyboard case which constrains the iPad’s orientation to landscape.

The landing page of The Chronicle iPad app in landscape orientation.

The landing page of The Chronicle iPad app in landscape orientation.

Screen Shot of the Chronicle app page in the iTunes store incorrectly showing The Chronicle being displayed in landscape orientation.

Screen Shot of the Chronicle app page in the iTunes store incorrectly showing The Chronicle being displayed in landscape orientation.

What actually happens if you try to read The Chronicle on your iPad in landscape orientation.

What actually happens if you try to read The Chronicle on your iPad in landscape orientation.

Other issues in the design of The Chronicle app are poor visibility (i.e., making the interface visible and inferring the right messages to the user) and mapping (i.e., linking what the user wants to do and what is perceived possible). For instance, when pulling up a digital edition of The Chronicle, users can either begin by intuitively swiping right to “turn the page” to the next article or by simply selecting an article from the front page and jumping directly to that article. The issue of visibility lies in the latter option as there are no clear indicators that the headlines of the articles are links; the page simply looks like a PDF of its print counterpart. I was unaware of this option for months until I accidentally “clicked” an article on a front page one day, and was pleasantly surprised that I no longer had to swipe through page after page to get to the article I wanted. This leads me to an issue of mapping for once I discovered this I assumed there must be other linkable items in the digital edition of The Chronicle as well. As is common on news apps (e.g., The New York Times app) and websites (including The Chronicle’s website) there can be many linkable items within an article (e.g., keywords link to a list of articles tagged with that keyword). However, after unsuccessfully tapping on several author’s names it was clear that the only similarity between those other news apps/websites and The Chronicle digital edition was being able to click the headlines.

Screen shot of The Chronicle digital edition -  Does it look like all of those those articles are linkable?

Screen shot of The Chronicle digital edition – Does it look like all of those those articles are linkable?

The Chronicle of Higher Education is a top-notch publication with well-written and informative articles and absolutely worth the subscription price. Unfortunately, their app is a bit clunky and convoluted, which can take away from the enjoyment of reading the articles.