8 tips for creating content for mobile

More than three quarters (76%) of UK adults now own a smartphone, according to research carried out by Ipsos Mori for Deloitte, many of whom will check their phone 85 times a day and will spend on average five hours browsing the web or using apps, says a separate report carried about by Nottingham Trent University. In the last year alone there has been a 17% growth in the number of mobile users active on social, which means creating content for mobile is even more important than ever. Here we look at eight ways you can create attention grabbing content for mobile users.

1. Make it visual: Study after study has shown that mobile users are attracted to images over text. Many of the latest eye tracking studies have shown that users spend longer looking at pictures than they do reading words. Finding images to support your text helps to solidify your message. Canadian media company Globe Native’s digital editor Stephanie Chan says: “The rule of thumb for mobile is, less is more. Not only are you working with a smaller screen, but shorter attention spans. If a story can be told with an image, use an image.”

2. Be concise: Brevity is celebrated in mobile content, but it’s not an easy thing to do as the 17th Century French philosopher Blaise Pascal noted in 1656, “I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.” It’s important to craft concise sentences which get to the point, rather than allow your writers to meander.

3. Keep headlines short: US-based mobile content designer Kyle Phelps from D-Custom has said:One of the biggest problems, when you’re dealing with mobile design, is the headline length and size. You’ve got to work out how you are going to adapt the headlines to the various screen sizes. They’ve got to be designed so that they don’t take up much screen real estate.”

4. Include video: According to the latest report from Ooyala, 46% of all video plays by the end of 2015 were on mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. Two-thirds of these videos were under 10 minutes long. Cisco, in its latest Visual Networking Index, forecast a further 8 times increase of mobile traffic by 2020, saying it expected video to comprise 75% of all Internet traffic by then.

5. Think about your customer’s needs: Just because your viewers are on mobile, doesn’t mean they are in a hurry. Many people use their phone to fill in captive time spent on their commute or waiting for friends, even on the sofa whilst watching TV. So your mobile content should reflect the desktop experience and not just focus on serving ‘users on the go’.

6. Front load your most powerful content: Follow the traditional news-reporting inverted pyramid writing style of including who, what, when, where, why, how in the first few sentences to grab your mobile readers’ attention. It saves them from having to scroll further down below the fold.

7. Paragraphs should be short: Reading lengthy paragraphs requires focus and attention, which many mobile users do not have. According writer and author Hannah Morgan in U.S. News site she said: “Keep your message short, and use concise bullet points to emphasize key points rather than long paragraphs.”

8. Produce podcasts: Consider mixing your content up by including podcasts as part of your media offering. According to a report published by 9TO5 last year podcasts are considered to be a ‘mobile phenomenon’, with two-thirds of users tuning in from a tablet or phone more than six times a week. The reason they are so popular is because people can easily incorporate listening to them into their daily routines – driving to work, on the train or whilst cooking dinner.

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