I did not know until that moment how attached I had become to my phone.
This past week, I was kayaking on a lake in Vermont, watching a pair of loons. I had a beautiful shot lined up with my phone that would have captured a blooming pond lily in the foreground and the loons in the background. With one hand, I moved the boat just a bit in the water to get closer to the flower, and as I leaned, the phone slipped from my hand and floated to the bottom of the lake.
A complicated future flashed before my eyes. I walked through the logistics in my mind of how I would finish my road trip without the phone. First, I would have to buy a map of Maine. But more importantly, as someone who loves the news, I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the digital play-by-play of world and national politics, and I wouldn’t be getting any news alerts from the Quad-City Times newsroom.
Then something magical happened. My phone lit up at the bottom of the lake, which was only about 5 feet deep below me. I stabbed my paddle into the sand right where I had just seen the phone and began the adventure of bringing it back to the surface. The iPhone 7 is waterproof, which I had forgotten. The loons were gone, but the lily was still there, and I took a photo.
I’m not alone in my growing tendency to interact with the world through my phone. According to the Pew Research Center, 7-in-10 people get their news on mobile devices, and 55 percent of people get news alerts on their phones.
Each day, I watch the visitors to qctimes.com, and I can tell you that people are consuming more news than ever. On any given day, more than 60 percent of the readers visiting qctimes.com are doing so from their phones. We work hard to keep the site fresh so people have breaking news to read while waiting in line, or a long read such as our weekly Big Story while enjoying a warm summer evening on the back porch, or Rick’s Six first thing in the morning, offering up traffic, weather and early news of the day.
Starting today, late morning, you’ll see the look of our website change as we respond to the way people are using it. We’ve redesigned the site to make it easier to read on your phone and tablet. You’ll be able to scroll through headlines with ease. When you visit an article, you'll see more articles flow into the bottom when you're done, and that supply of new articles will continue to flow until you find a headline of interest.
You’ll notice the site is simpler and quicker to navigate. On tablets and desktop computers, the photos will be bigger. Scroll halfway down the home page to see a beautiful new display of our photo galleries.
The new design also will make it easier for news from the Quad-Cities to show up on all your feeds. Google will now index mobile sites first, which means that stories posted there will rank higher in searches.
This is an important next step for this newspaper, founded as the Daily Iowa State Democrat on Oct. 15, 1855, continually evolving to meet the needs of our readers through 161 years of publication.