We now use the internet on a diverse set of devices, and these new devices afford us opportunities to read web material in contexts far beyond the traditional desktop monitor.
Instead of nervously reloading our favorite blogs throughout the day, we might choose to read the news once a day, in the evening on our tablet. Or, we might check catch up via e-reader a few times a week while offline on the train. These different reading contexts give us clues as to how the person is using the site, and what sort of content makes most sense to present.
Presenting everything as a reverse chronological stream of posts made sense when we knew our readers were sitting at a desk, hitting reload on 30 tabs all day long at work. Does it still make sense when content arrives on an e-paper watch, an Xbox or a tiny slip of paper?
Meanwhile, enormous piles of data are being collected about our browsing habits. When do we visit? What have we visited recently? This information is squirreled away in the cloud in order to better sell us things. Instead of just handing all that data over to Google and Facebook and Twitter, sites should leverage some of it to enhance the reading experience.
In addition to becoming device aware through responsive design techniques, our sites should also strive to become reader aware.