Moving to a mobile-first approach

Hands up who’s reading this on mobile? According to recent stats, that’s probably around 50% of you.

The smartphone has changed our expectations on how we consume information. Having moved beyond just being a tool for messaging and social apps, for most of us, our smartphone has become the first port of call for researching new products and services at the very moment that we want to know something.

With mobile now surpassing desktop for number of web page views, I’m encouraging clients to think about content with a mobile-first approach. That is, prioritising the experience of consuming content on mobile, rather than on desktop.

But delivering mobile first content means more than just creating a responsive-design website. It’s about combining well-considered content with an understanding of mobile user experience.

Whether it’s for a new website, or landing page content for an online campaign, taking a mobile-first approach to content is likely to lift engagement, and conversions - here are four points to remember:

1. The now-not-so-golden-triangle

If you’ve ever sought out any insights into desktop user engagement, you’ve probably come across the Golden Triangle. Essentially, if you look at a heatmap of where users attention is centred, it creates a triangle, starting top left to right then petering out to a point as you go down the page.

This Golden Triangle rule just doesn’t apply on mobile.

Now we’re looking at an F-shape - basically, three sweeping glances.

-Top right to left

- Bottom right to left

- Scroll down

A study also found that around 86% of users’ attention spans the top two-thirds of a mobile screen. Why is this information helpful? Because it’s key to creating strategic content that sits where it actually gets noticed by readers.

2. Go light on the visual content

Unless you have imagery that helps tell your story, try to avoid making your content too visual. Images take up a lot of screen space, and in general, we’re drawn to them over text, meaning important messages might instead go unnoticed in cramped mobile real estate. If you want to add graphic elements, try infographics or even video content.

3. Short & snappy

When writing for mobile, simplifying sentences to concise statements is important. Users don’t want to scroll through long, wordy text. Prioritise what’s really important in your messaging, get straight to the point with your content.

4. Headlines that cut through

Include hard-hitting headlines and subheads that get attention in a glance as readers scroll through their screen. Use formatting like bold text, white space, colour and design elements to break up large chunks of text.

Mobile-first doesn’t necessarily have to mean a complete website re-design, but it does require re-thinking your content. If you’re not already, you need to be tracking metrics using Google Analytics to help you understand your customer behaviour - you can find stats on mobile users, and their patterns of behaviour with how they are interacting with your site. Where are the bounce points? How can you make it easier for mobile users to get to the information that they’re after? With these insights, and by using the points above, you can start to consider ways that you can optimise their attention.