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Small-Screen Ready: Best Practices for Mobile Content

How does your website content look on an iPhone or Android device? If users have to pinch, scroll excessively, or strain their eyes to get the message, it is time to adapt your web content for mobile viewing.

Problem: Opening a desktop site on mobile is a painful experience. – via GIPHY

We can’t ignore our mobile users. Google Analytics data across our client accounts shows us people use mobile phones more than desktop computers to get online. And with new devices infiltrating the market at a rapid pace, content will need to do even more. Content strategist Karen McGrane predicts we will need adaptive content, “created from the start with the intent that it might need to go anywhere.”

For now, take a look at your current site content. As Mashable contributor Ryan Matzer says, “creating content for mobile isn’t the same as creating content for the desktop web.” Smaller screen sizes create new challenges for users.  There are different “rules” to follow.

We have the rulebook for mobile content delivery here. Check it out!

1. Trim the fat

If the information on the page doesn’t help the user complete a specific task, cut it out! Keep it laser-focused with the information that determines the click/tap decision.

Use concise, to-the-point language (lose the long-winded metaphors or verbose descriptions).

2. Write like a journalist

News reporters stick the most important bite of information of an article in the first sentence or two.

Craft your mobile content the same way. Instead of making hasty mobile users scroll to find what they need, give it to them immediately.

Patience is not a virtue for your mobile content.

3. Hit the main points

In a recent study of mobile information comprehension, usability expert Jakob Nielsen found that test users didn’t want to read entire news stories on their phones. They didn’t want to bother with the extra, secondary stuff. They just wanted to know the main points.

Provide the main points of each page, and offer the extras for users who seek it out. You can do this with buttons that direct to pages with additional information.

4. Rewrite phrases for retweetability

If you’re familiar with Twitter conversation, you know that 140 characters can pack a punch. Edit longer, complicated sentences as though you’re writing a tweet. Strive to make an impact with few words.

You want your mobile content to be exciting and action-driven, with retweet potential!

5. Don’t adapt for one context only

We can’t predict exactly where our users will access our content from the mobile web.

The generalization that mobile users are “always on the go” just can’t stick. Over 1/4 of people in the US who browse the Internet on smartphones almost never use any other platform, as Pew and On Device Research discovered.

Don’t tailor mobile content strictly for the “on-the-go” user or the “short attention span” user. You might have users that want to learn more about your company, or take the time to review all the tech specs on a product.

Be mindful of the needs of all users, and you’ll find that your content fits McGrane’s vision for the “adaptive content” of the future.

Conclusion: A great mobile site will keep your users happy. – via GIPHY

As mobile design experts, we’re always curious to learn more. What are some of your favourite mobile sites? Do you see any of these content guidelines come into action on those sites? Let us know in the comments section below!

See Also:

Smartphone Traffic To Increase 10x by 2019: Get Ready For More Mobile Customers

McGrane, Karen. “Shifting: The Page”. Issue 4.

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