University of Southern California

Twixl in the Classroom

Creating Native Content for Mobile Apps

Twixl Publisher is in the classroom this semester at USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. The content creation tool for mobile publishing is allowing students to design native content for mobile-apps.

Amara Aguilar is associate professor of professional practice in digital journalism at USC Annenberg. Her expertise includes: digital journalism, emerging media, mobile storytelling, information and communication technologies, news apps and the changing news industry. Having developed and teaching courses such as journalism for mobile and emerging platforms, and interactive media design for publishing, Amara is an expert on content creation and consumption trends.

Amara sat down to discuss how Twixl Publisher is helping the to the next generation of content creators think mobile-first, with a course focused on mobile app creation.

What are you teaching students in terms of content creation?

At USC Annenberg, our philosophy is human-centered storytelling, and presenting story-centered content based on a user-first approach. We are empowering content creators by providing the skills and tools necessary to successfully connect with audiences.

How did you select Twixl, and how are you using it in the classroom?

Twixl was selected because it is an amazing industry standard tool. It provides a mobile mindset for photographs, writing, designing and the user experience. What is nice about Twixl, is that you have the flexibility to create a mobile app with or without coding. Many of my students have coding knowledge. So it is appealing to them, to have the option to apply that knowledge to mobile app building. They really like working with Twixl and are enjoying seeing their work on a mobile platform.  It is a great tool for teams with diverse skillsets.  Everyone can contribute, and create a well-designed app, whether they can code or not.

The course is focused on designing for a native mobile app experience.  It’s a valuable skillset and so relevant today as more people access content through their phones. People know if they are viewing content on a non-native platform, and it often leads to a negative user experience, which can hurt your brand. Content creators need to design native user experiences across platforms.
This class is focused on mobile apps, but content creators need to be focused on the user experience of each platform. The right software is vital to empowering content creators, so they can build user centered experiences across channels. It is also important that software keeps evolving as content consumption changes. Twixl and Adobe are leading the way as industry standard technology.

What makes designing for mobile unique?

It’s a more personal experience, with a focus on visuals and engagement measured in tapping through the content.  Snapchat Discover is a great example of maximizing the use of visuals in a mobile space.