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Trends on Tuesday: Thinking about Your Agency’s “Glanceable” Moment Strategy

Mobile devices (a laptop, a smart watch, a cell phone and tablet) show the same content.

Mobile device penetration is growing, with larger screens providing more real-estate for content and users completing more complex tasks over longer periods of engagement. However, the new wave of digital screens on watches and wearables is requiring organizations to consider how to build smaller, faster and simpler interfaces to prepare for “glanceable moments.”

Ted Schadler from Forrester Research provided the following explanation: “here’s a rule of thumb: people will stare at a desktop screen for 3 minutes. They will spend 30 seconds on their smartphone. But they will spend only 3 seconds with a watch app. That’s a glanceable moment: 3 seconds to communicate vital information, deliver a service, or help someone take action.”

In our time-starved world, wearables are cited as an opportunity to break away from mobile phones and get quick and easy information without opening a computer or mobile device.

When preparing for the wearable future, government agencies should ask themselves:

  1. What is the utility of your organization’s service, and how urgent is it to the audience? For instance: tornado warning alerts nearby? Personal health advisories? Travel or public safety news?
  2. Can you distill that down into a small image, less text than a half a tweet, or a haptic vibration buzz? An experience that works on a postage stamp-sized square or circle shape for the different interface sizes will be all the real-estate you have.
  3. After the audience sees it, what is the next engagement step, and how you help them do that? For instance: open a mobile application? Call your office for help? Make a decision?
    Illustration: Responsive Web Design Elements are shown on various screen sizes: television, desktop computer, laptop, tablet, smart phone, smart watch, and ring

It is the early days for this emerging platform, but government agencies should start preparing now for these new platforms and considering how they would need to format their content and experiences around them. You can start by learning more about how to find the best mobile moments for targeting users.

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