Forbes.com is the latest publication to embrace the Snapchat aesthetic, introducing a mobile redesign, currently in beta, that is a conscious nod to packaging a story the Snapchat way. Story covers, or cards, take up the entire screen with an image, title and author information. The story content is accessed by swiping up and new stories are accessed by swiping left or right.
But the site’s structure also embraces an emerging, Google-approved technology known as a Progressive Web App (PWA), a fast-loading mobile/app hybrid that can be accessed through a browser and added to the home screen like an app, but without the need for an app store download.
According to Forbes, its new site loads in eight tenths of a second. While the site will have the look and feel of an app on both iOS and Android, there are extra perks, like push notifications and offline reading, available only on the Android version.
“We’ve completely overhauled our approach to product innovation so that we can better respond to the way our readers are consuming content and address the rapid changes in the marketplace,” said Salah Zalatimo, Forbes Media svp of product and technology, in a statement. “This new mobile site is our first major step in optimizing our storytelling capabilities, and it’s creating a better, faster and more engaging experience for Forbes readers.”
It is a multi-phased rollout that will take place over the course of the next few months, allowing time for testing different formats for content and advertising.
As chief product officer Lewis DVorkin explains in a post announcing the redesign, it is a response to challenges hitting the news industry from all sides: providing an optimal reading experience for its audience and an appealing space and format that will attract advertisers, one that can also compete with social for ad dollars. “The task for premium news providers, FORBES included, is to build premium news environments that address these challenges,” writes DVorkin.
One way in which PWA technology will help Forbes on the advertising front is through the ability of users to separate Forbes mobile content by topic, adding those portions of the site to their device’s home screens, helping differentiate audiences for advertisers. “Marketers can join the experience, too, through sponsorship, native content or display ads and reach consumers who self-selected such interests,” writes DVorkin.
The first phase of the redesign is available to users accessing Forbes stories on AMP. Phase two will reach readers accessing content through social, and phase three will be the full PWA experience from all mobile access points.