Publishing content for mobile devices

So much has been written about the importance of creating websites that scale seamlessly according to the device they are being accessed through that it has almost become a cliché. But what about content? Do people prefer different content when they are accessing your website via mobile devices such as smart phones and 7 inch tablets?

There is a client of mine for whom I write a weekly newsletter. Whenever he sends me the brief he never forgets to mention that I should keep in mind that most of his recipients will be reading the newsletter via their blackberries (what he means is, via their phones, which means, very small screens). He prefers content that doesn’t go beyond 3 paragraphs and every paragraph shouldn’t be more than 2 sentences.

This makes sense. Nobody would like to scroll through an umpteen number of lines on a tiny screen. Besides, people never specifically sit down to check their e-mails on their mobile devices. Most probably they are doing something else and hence, distracted, while they are accessing information on their mobile devices.

While formatting/creating content for mobile devices, you need to truncate it to the minimum. Stick to the most essential aspect of your content and remove things you can do away with. Create smaller sentences and if possible, present your information in points rather than long sentences.

Prioritization is very important. Remember that you have very little time to grab the attention of your visitors and during that time you have to convey the most important message to make an impact.

When people access your website from their smart phones and smaller tablets they’re looking for the most relevant information. Don’t make them jump from page to page in order to make a point. Present your idea within a couple of paragraphs, and as mentioned above, normally have one or at the most two sentences per paragraph. Use small words that are easy to understand and while formatting your content, make sure that there is lots of white space around words and lines.

Unless you have visuals that are indispensable, don’t use images and graphics because this unnecessarily increases the load time and causes distraction. Of course if it is an e-commerce website and you enable people to shop from their mobile devices you will have to display the images of the items people want to purchase, but if you’re presenting just information, stick to text.


Amrit Hallan