As people consume more and more digital content via their smartphones, tablets, or just laptops – one could be forgiven for thinking that there is little room left for printed materials for work or play. Currently, however, this is simply not the case.
In the workplace the cheaper, more simple, and more elegant solution for sharing information is in print. Yes you should also put all the information up online (whether on the internet or a private intranet depending on the information) so that it is easily accessible in the future, but to hand out in a meeting?
It would be great if by walking into a room an app would automatically pop up on each person’s connected device that works seamlessly on iOS, Android, Windows, and BlackBerry – but that is not the reality. To offer the same information via an app then you would need a team of developers to create the app for each OS, and then you would have to wait to get the apps into the app stores, or have the further complication of having IT add them to everyone’s devices.
HTML5 should be the answer to these issues, and I believe it will be down the line – but I have been saying this for the last five years and we still aren’t there. HTML5 apps are still not as good as their native counterparts – not as fast, not as elegant, and not as beautiful. Once HTML5 reaches maturity then we will see more business presentations accompanied by apps which will let people investigate and drill-down the data points and graphs, but we are still a pretty long way off now and digital printing is a cheaper and more effective tool for now.
On the entertainment/consumer front we are starting to see a lot of people move towards digital subscriptions for newspapers and magazines – and some of these digital versions are beautiful and available across a number of platforms with Wired magazine one of the best examples. Where digital has not yet found such success, however, is when you just want to pick up a single magazine or newspaper for the train or plane journey.
If you already know you like a magazine or newspaper then you may subscribe, or at least have the app on your phone or tablet to download an edition before you leave – the files are often way to big to download over 3G. But what about those times when you want to read something different? When you;ve got 40 minutes to kill in an airport and you flick through the magazine rack until something catches your eye and you have a quick leaf through before buying it? That doesn’t happen with digital. Digital has yet to find a way to replace serendipity, and print still reigns supreme.
[Photograph courtesy of FontShop]