Is Web content management ready for wearable apps?

Wearable devices may soon carve a niche in mobile Web strategies. But not all Web content management platforms are up for the challenge.

You need to look at two things closely if you want to integrate wearable devices, such as the Apple Watch, with your Web content management (WCM) strategy.

First, your WCM system needs to be device-agnostic. It has to be able to deliver content to any device. Second, your WCM needs to be aware of the capacities of these devices as well. It needs to know if the wearable receiving content has a GPS device, for example. These two sets of capabilities are contradictory in some ways, but I think WCM tools need to meet both if they're going to be successful in targeting content for wearable apps.

Doing that requires a couple of things on the back end. Part of it is about APIs, and it's also about how content is stored and separating content from presentation.

This becomes a key point when delivering content to multiple devices, because most WCM tools actually mix up the content and presentation. For example, if you use rich text and add bold print or a particular heading, that presentation information becomes attached to the content and it becomes difficult to repurpose it for a smaller device. It will look good on a website, but not on an Apple Watch.

So the WCM needs to store the raw content in one place and the presentation information in another. If it does that and is aware of the device type, it can apply the right presentation for  a given device.

For example, when you access a piece of content with a desktop you'll receive the title and body copy, whereas on a smartphone you'll likely see just an abstract, and with a wearable app you'd see just the title. All of them have a different presentation with a different amount of content, and you can do that only if your WCM stores the information in a way that's independent of the device type.

That is a WCM best practice and should be attendant in responsive design. But as we know, best practices are not always that common.

Apoorv Durga is an analyst with Real Story Group 

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