Right now, a lot of the energy of publishers is being focused on being more user centric. Putting their consumers at the centre. As the economic power shifts to authors and readers this may be long overdue. Is this missing a bigger picture shift and are there other alternatives to consider? Here are some thoughts from our recent webinar featuring Tommy Doyle
How do you define User Experience?
It’s all about how a user interacts with a product or service
It’s how the person feels and thinks about
How useful it is
How easy it is to use
Ultimately whatever job they are looking to do you are always shooting for a combination of outcomes like
Happiness and joy
Getting better results
So why do you ask ‘is reader experience really that import?’
I think user experience is important but reader experience is only one context and seems to be the one that everyone is drawn to right now
A lot of publishers given their own current context equate user experience just to reader experience, and see that as a major shift from their traditional thinking of serving the 2nd hand information from their buyers stated needs (i.e. librarians)
I do think publishers need to become much more user centric, particularly as the economics shift from subscription budgets to author pays where the individual becomes a more and more important economic actor
However, I’d argue that a reader experience only focus is not covering the full and evolving landscape
To stir the pot a bit one could argue a sole focus on reader experience is limiting and even harmful to the overall industry
So what other aspects of this landscape should publishers be considering?
Where are users spending their time digitally, what is the context?
RCNs larger than Publisher and Aggregator Neutral Meta Platforms
Context is different from the single ‘search, view, print’
Looking to collaborate, find experts, find and work through things with others
Greater degrees of personalization. Also highly personalized and taking a much bigger digital fingerprint than any single publisher alone.
How is this information being used and valued in other contexts and different user groups
Data tools and service companies
API economy: Data and tasks are more and more separated: Tool based and workflows.
Particularly in more advanced digital evolutions for example in FinTech data is brought from sources and used elsewhere (e.g. Square widely used payment system here in US)
Investment community (VCs, BioTechs, even Hedge Funds/Traders)
Competitive intel and business intelligence
Prediction platforms need to gather a wide and diverse range of data sets these may very well not be typical or expected users of academic content
These want to create on the fly a one body of knowledge on a very specific thing, any pre- packaging and curating whether that be by a journal, a publisher, a database, a librarian are much less important
What are the barriers from doing this?
Access to new markets and buyer. Strong to desire to have these and own these, but limited understanding or any footprint. Cost of entry can be very high
Relationship status (one of defense, fixed mindset versus open growth mindset)
Technology shifts (PDF => XML, contextual labelling, AI automation, rent the stack, Open API based structures)
Business models (data as a service, marketplaces, channel partnerships)
If publishers are seen as pure data suppliers what opportunities/alternatives are there to grow?
Broader Term view: Take an ecosystem mindset and build an ecosystem strategy.
Data exchanges and platforms
Closer View: Production Platforms
Get scale for others or rent it, what you need to own and specialize versus rent
Author services player
Relationships really matter, what services can one bring to solve pain points in the research, writing, distribution or promotion process
Data feeds plus
Specialized societies labelling and enriching content reducing computer costs downstream
Community membership plays
Facilitating highest value 1-2-1 interaction
Specialized swim upstream
With a deep understanding of the user and use cases (beyond purely a reader), there may be opportunities to start to venture out and leverage existing brand, reach and user trust
In conclusion – If you have been informed, inspired or even confused by this set of notes on this topic, get in touch – connect with ConTech.Live and learn, network and share with us in the contact form at the bottom of this page.