Source Spotlight: Quartz
Quartz is a publication for the modern era. Entirely digital and optimized for mobile devices, the site offers thorough analysis of the global economy in a fresh and unique way. You can add Quartz from the Business section of Pulse now, and read more about this game-changing news source below.
The idea for Quartz came from the recognition that today’s world is vastly different from what it once was: the global economic order is fundamentally changed, globalization is moving at an unprecedented clip, and new leaders and ways of doing business have emerged. Quartz aims to embody this dynamic era, covering the topics and questions that are of seismic importance to business leaders, and delivering this content in a beautiful, efficient way. Core to this strategy is a radically simple, highly responsive interface that is native to the mobile and tablet era and designed for user efficiency.
We’re currently in version 1.0 of our efforts, and view the creation of Quartz as only the beginning of an ongoing process. As the global economic order continues to shift, Quartz will evolve along with it.
Core to the Quartz philosophy is our belief that the traditional way of organizing news around fixed beats—”bond markets,” “international trade,” and the like—doesn’t make sense in today’s digital world, where information flows constantly and media consumption can take any number of forms. As such, we chose to structure content around what we call “obsessions”—the ever-changing trends and phenomena that matter most to global decision makers. Organizing our coverage by obsessions rather than beats allows us to tackle critical global topics in a way that maximizes relevance and efficiency; as the world changes, so will the way we report on it.
Here’s a sample of our current obsessions:
- The mobile web: By May 2012 a tenth of the world’s web traffic was on mobile phones—and it’s the so-called “developing” world that is leading the charge. How will this disrupt existing internet giants? Who are the rising stars in emerging markets? How is the shift to mobile affecting the internet’s design and business models? And how will the next billion people get online?
- China slowdown: China’s economic growth seems to be decelerating from its eye-popping highs, just as the country is going through its once-a-decade leadership transition. How will the new leadership set economic policy in the light of rivalry between political clans? How will it adjust to social unrest? And what effects is the slowdown having on industries and countries around the world that have come to depend on Chinese demand?
- The next crisis: What are the new sources of financial instability and imprudent investment? Where is regulation still weak? And who stands to gain from the flaws still inherent in the global financial system?
- The Euro crunch: Rather than tracking every detail, we provide a simple guide to the level of threat facing European unity. And in parallel we focus on two questions: who is winning and losing in Europe’s turmoil, and what are the methods that people and companies are using to adjust, cope with, and even profit from it?
- The consumer class: As consumer spending reaches new highs and moves online and into emerging economies, how will consumer tastes evolve across borders? What sorts of companies and products will meet these changing demands? How will spending shape global trade and economics, and what are the political implications of more disposable income and time?
Quartz was built with the tablet as the primary design interface, then was optimized for mobile and desktop—this is a sharp departure from the traditional approach that focuses on desktop and retrofits for other devices afterward. The radically simplified design structure of the site and native-app-like performance ambitions are the product of Quartz’s tablet- and mobile-first approach. Quartz’s navigation, content, and advertising are meant to be touched. The article headlines and the well of content and advertising scroll effortlessly as users are accustomed on mobile and tablet devices. Editors tailor charts and animations on the site to work well on mobile. Quartz’s free web application approach has helped turbocharge users’ sharing of content via social media—there’s no paywall or different article url for mobile or app store download required. About one-third of Quartz’s readers come to it from mobile and tablet devices. Josh Benton of Nieman Lab hailed Quartz as a “technological and structural innovator” and the site was a finalist for Adweek’s Hotlist Tablet Publisher/Aggregator category, validating Quartz’s embrace of the post-desktop era.
- An uneven recovery from the global financial crisis, with some countries having already bottomed out and focused on recovery and others still facing obstacles ahead
- Emerging-market winners and losers: On the whole emerging markets will see experience growth in 2013, but the financial conditions within each will vary greatly
- The legacy of the fiscal cliff dive, which remains to be seen and will be determined by capital expenditure levels
- China’s landing sequence, and whether the country’s slowdown will be tempered by changes in labor supply and demand
- The duration of euro agony, which may be nearing the end… or not.