IXD301 Book Review Content Strategy for Mobile

content strategy for mobile cover

Content Strategy for Mobile by Karen McGrane looks at why it is not only important to design and build mobile-friendly websites but also why it is important to make a content strategy specifically aimed at mobiles and other platforms. I have outlined some of the content that jumped out to me in this book below.

Mobile-Users Only

A list of statistics are provided to display how many people are mobile-only users in the developing world. These include

  • 75% of the population of India now have a mobile phone.
  • There are more mobile internet users in China than there are people in the U.S.
  • Of the 10 million people in Egypt who access the mobile web, 70% of them are mobile-only. 

This is followed by a list of statistics on developed countries:

  • 28% of American smartphone users go online mostly using their phone.
  • As of early 2012 88% of American adults have a mobile phone

These statistics are almost 10 years old, bearing in mind the iPhone (the first smartphone that really made accessing the internet a feasible option) was only released in 2007 they have now changed vastly. Currently, approximately 83% of the U.S. population are mobile internet users. In the UK 55.81 million individuals connect to the net via mobile, accounting for 85% of all internet users in the country.

I personally only use desktop in a work environment. Therefore considering content strategy for mobile is more important than ever.

Responsive design

Responsive design to the rescue

Originally the rise of mobile web viewing lead to multiple sites, a desktop and mobile version. However, responsive design has provided another solution. Responsive design allows you to develop one set of code that will adapt to different screen sizes. However, depending on the website/ product and the CMS system in place, there may be good reason to keep separate templates. I imagine this is likely the case in instances of complicated applications such as banking apps etc. 

Multiple content structures

Multiple content structures

This section looks at NPRs (America’s National Public Radio) content structures and how they can be applied to multiple platforms. When NPR creates a story they write multiple introductions for each piece (a short one and a long one). This gives them flexibility and a choice of which works best on a selected platform.

Multiple content structures can be helped by producing content in multiple mediums such as written, audio, video etc. This provides each platform with content in a form that will best meet the needs of their users under the circumstances they are engaging with the content on that specific platform. Creating multiple headings can also be helpful in these instances too.

Wayfinding

As the user has a smaller screen less information can be delivered at once. This has to be considered when it comes to where information is located on an app or website and how the user has to navigate through the site to find that information. This means that content must be easily accessible. Something as small as hiding a link away in a hamburger menu can have a big impact as demonstrated in Joe Leech’s work on the MoMA mobile site. Links need to be visible and labelled correctly.

Progressive disclosure can also help with this process.

“Progressive disclosure orients users in steps or stages that reveal more complex information as they go, helping them make good choices as they complete a task or navigate information.”

This can be achieved by simply writing a good teaser, a sentence or two that describes the link. Fill the description with triggers words that users would say to describe what their looking for. This will prevent users from going back and forth to find the content their after.

All of the above information is so important when it comes to meeting the needs of users, now more than ever as mobile web use has become so popular. Considering this in my content strategy was not something I had considered before. However, following this excellent read it will definitely be something I consider in the future particularly when it comes to information hierarchy and helping the user to find the content they are looking for as easily on mobile as desktop.

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