Digital media companies need to make user experience a priority — or else

Digital publishing, seeming perpetually up against terrible economics that prize quantity over quality, has reached a point where navigating it is akin to “walking across a sticky cinema store,” according to Barbarian Group executive director of media and distribution Colin Nagy.

That’s because media companies have lost sight of the user experience in their many trade-offs the environment requires in order to make money from ads. The rise of ad blocking is no surprise in this context, as publishers have spent much of the last decade trying to figure out how much interruption, sluggishness and viruses their audiences will put up with.

“User experience on its best day has a tremendous amount of empathy for the end user,” Nagy said on this week’s Digiday Podcast. “The idea of media experience and putting things in harmonious environments and not striving for scale for scale’s sake is important. You can have your scale stuff and have interesting things around that.”