No Going Back To Print: More Mobile Friendly

By Shawn Zuver,

To get things started, I’d like to borrow/paraphrase a line that Kip Dynamite sang in the wedding scene at the end of the 2004 movie named after his brother Napoleon. “I love technology. Yes, I love technology. Always and forever.”

I recently reached a pivotal point in my immersion in electronic media while reading a paperback novel.

Nearing the end of The Hot Rock, a comic crime novel by Donald E. Westlake, I ran into a word whose meaning was a little, out of habit, I pressed my left index finger on it. And nothing happened. Then I tried it yet again, before realizing that I wasn’t using my Kindle with its built-in dictionary.

Aside from showing how obtuse I can be at times – after all, I did press the word twice before becoming conscious that I was dealing with dead tree matter and not an interactive electronic device – I also realized that there’s really no turning back to paper for me. And it’s pretty clear that I’m not alone.

Everywhere I go, somebody is whipping out a tablet or smartphone to look up a product or an answer to some important, or not-so-important, fact. They’re being used literally every day by seemingly everyone (approximately 200 million tablets and 1 billion smartphones were sold worldwide in 2013 alone, according to statistics posted by mobiThinking™).

It’s undeniable that these devices have changed the way people live their lives personally and professionally, prompting me to reflect on how significantly electronic devices and media have become ingrained in the world’s culture during the last seven years since Bob Fittro, John Garvey and I launched in July 2007.

It’s been fun for us to watch the dramatic shift in media content, as readers have come to expect and rely on the immediacy of websites and web-based publications – something that sadly has left my formerly-beloved world of printed matter gasping for air. I’ve heard the technology change from print to electronic media compared to people 80 or 90 years ago who gave up their horse-and-buggy for an automobile, or the millions of families who decided that a refrigerator would probably serve them better than packing their perishable food in a root cellar or icebox.

Today it’s pretty clear that readers prefer to see news, product developments and project case studies as soon as possible instead of waiting for them weeks - or even months - later by mail, and they want to be able to click on active links to find additional, specific product information. Adding to that, recent data indicates that electronic media’s lasting impression of advertisements is now equal to that of print.

As noted in Nathalie Tadena’s July 2, 2014 article in the Wall Street Journal online (titled Readers Recall Tablet Magazine Ads at Same Rate as Print Ads), “A recent study from GfK MRI Starch Advertising Research found that ads in tablet versions of magazines have the same average level of reader recall as print magazine ads.” Tadena went on to note: “In the digital realm, home and building ads as well as department store ads had the highest average level of reader recall at 64%.”

So we’re now at a point where a 5” x 8” tablet can effectively replace a magazine, newspaper and book – while being able to store hundreds of editions of each and offering interactive functions that would have made Ben Franklin giddy with possibilities. Many would argue that essentially the same capability is true of a 3” x 5” smartphone, depending on the user’s viewing requirements. And there’s little doubt that more game-changing technology advancements are already in the works.

Here at, we’re constantly reminded that our own evolution within electronic media needs to be continually evaluated. Since launching seven years ago, our website has undergone three significant iterations, with a countless amount of tweaks and upgrades along the way. The most recent was our move in late April to a new architecture offering interactive design that adapts to whatever device is being used - whether you’re using a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone.

And it doesn’t stop there for us. We have some other exciting developments to introduce in the coming months and year to make sure that we can accommodate viewers who want to check out the 1,500-plus project case studies, hundreds of annual news articles, vast libraries of technical articles, advice columns and the complete supplier directory. Of course, there’s much more, but you get the idea.

So, if you’re used to using on your desktop monitor or laptop, make sure to check it out on your smartphone and tablet as well. With the new interactive design, all of the information is available to you whenever and wherever you need it. And I’m happy to say that I’ll be right there with you, secure in the knowledge that when I press my finger to the screen something will actually happen.

Shawn Zuver is editorial/content director for He has been covering the metal construction industry, including residential and non-residential construction, since 1985. To contact Shawn, email

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