Saturday, 4 June 2011

Content is King

"People don’t read, especially when it comes to web and mobile" - I said that!
Content is important:
  • Content adds value
  • Content is part of user experience
And it is becoming increasingly important with the 'Mobile First' design philosophy coming into power. But, much of the mobile first design philosophy fails due to one big reason: CONTENT

And CONTENT failure is not a new phenomenon; it is to be seen even in web specific designs. If, we go to the root of the problem, then it is the different user behavior on web and mobile.

Keeping this in mind here are some guidelines to create content. These are applicable not just for Mobile but for web as well: 

1. If first 160 characters do not sound meaningful, rest of content cannot be useful!
With reducing attention spans, one needs to impress the audience with the first 160 characters. If an idea can’t be put in short, there will be no one listening to it. And if there is no one listening then an idea is useless. So, it makes more sense to put in all the skills to make that 160 character impressive!

2. If everything is useful, then everything is useless
Yes! There has been no mistake in the above statement. If one thinks that everything is useful for a site’s target audience, then surely there has been a mistake. Usually, we tend to fill in so much content, that everything seems to be useless and a person tends to drift away.

3. Use scan-able keywords
Every user opens a site with something in mind. If that is not scanable or searchable then it is highly unlikely that the user will stay for more.

4. Start with conclusions and recommendations
Inverted pyramid style of writing is the key for every content on web and mobile. People want to know quickly about everything; no one has time to read on and on….

5. Attention grabbing headings, meaningful subheadings
Headings are to get attention and subheadings are to make use of that attention span. Keeping a subheading simple, without jargons and to the point helps to gain trust as well. Jargons, complex terms, clever lines are meant to be for the Main heading, keep them out of the rest!

6. A picture is worth 1000 words, but we don’t want 1000 words!! Do we??
The intention is to keep it simple, neat and easy to download. A picture may seem to be the best option to give a visual appeal and represent an idea, but it increases the size. And with download speeds varying unpredictably, sometimes, pictures are a blot to user experience.


Erika Koenig-Workman said...

Thanks for this, great, useful and oh so true, :) ~e

Ankush Samant said...

Thank you Erika for such appreciation!

Vinay said...

Hi Ankush – this is quick and good read.

I guess the problem companies’ facing is centered on their digital marketing strategy.

Companies do not have mobile content specifically. Because mobile was never part of their channel strategy. Development of mobile website is more about refurbishing existing web content and optimizing (I hate this word now..) it for mobiles keeping mobile constrains (screen size, browser, bandwidth, etc. ) in center. Since the content is originally not designed to be consumed on mobile – it doesn’t serve its purpose.

Secondly, companies are struggling to differentiate consumption of content and brand experiences on mobile web and desktop web. The purpose seems to be serving a consistent web presence across all channels. This takes away the essence that people access content on mobile with a different purpose, in a different context and environment all together and refurbishing existing web content will help only that much.