Text for a mobile user: 5 postulates
1. Screen view
Once, someone came up with a heatmap (or click map), and the world found out that users were viewing a page, starting from the top left corner. The most “seen” place on the page is a triangle, the top of which is in the upper left corner.
But the user changed, and the heatmap changed with him.
The time has come for content marketing, and the world has learned how people view text content on the web. It turned out that the warmest place on the page resembles the letter F, the upper left corner of which is just in the upper left corner of the page.
Now the user picked up a mobile phone, and it turned out that now the warmest place on the page is the entire page. Well, the center of the page is a little warmer. Center, not top left corner.
This change in page layout is key. Designers take this into account when creating responsive designs. Writers should also consider this. When the user opens your text, he will look right at the center. Make sure that the element you need is in the center, and not the meerkat picture “to attract attention.”
Mobile users want to read laconic longrid.
James Bennet, editor-in-chief of The Atlantic, in 2013, in his article “Against Long Form Journalism”, expressed an important idea: the one who elevated the length of the text to the status of absolute virtue rendered the Longrid a disservice. Journalists quickly learned the new rules, and in pursuit of the number of pages, they stopped editing the text, seeking the accuracy of the wording. If length is a virtue, then you do not need to choose the most striking example of the five available, you do not need to clear out unnecessary words, and weak expressiveness can be obscured by additional adjectives. As a result, Longrid turned from a respectable citizen of journalism into a plebeian who ate off at fast food.
This is also true for mobile content. Longrid is the best form of the mobile reading era. Now the text requires meticulous editing and careful work on the meaning.
If the reader does not make sense line by line (and the lines on the smartphone are short), he will not read further.
To the point, the mobile user has generally overstated requirements. No one will strain and poke a finger at the screen for the sake of uninteresting, invaluable, useless content that chews on what is already known. The development of the mobile segment launches natural selection – only that text that has [super] novelty, [super] idea and [mega] good will survive.
The paragraph is the main structural element of the text. The mobile user considers the paragraph as a structure of the author’s thoughts. If the paragraph is delayed, it means that the author is unclear in expressing thoughts, and you can skip this place. A couple of missing paragraphs – and the visitor decides to close the page.
Short paragraphs of 3-5 lines, broken by blank lines (a question for designers) set the rhythm and help the reader move along the text. For the same reason, numbered lists are good.
A couple of words is the perfect headline for your mobile. Yes, such headers are difficult to create, but long headers will stretch over several lines and eat up the entire screen, preventing the user from accessing the text. Do not make the font of the headers too big – another question for designers.
Lead is no longer a lead
The leading paragraph of the text in mobile content is not the same as the lead in old journalism. If a journalistic leader should intrigue and give out the basic factology, then the leader in a smartphone has nothing to do with intrigue and should give out only one thought.
The first paragraph for a mobile user is a kind of reconciliation with expectations. “Is this what I want to read now?” A short paragraph of 3-4 lines revealing the main idea of the text is a good lead for reading from a mobile. Lead on the verge of a spoiler – an appropriate comparison.
5. Visual additions
Avoid unnecessary videos and pictures.
The image placed in the text will occupy the lion’s share of the screen – it is logical that the user will view the image longer than the text itself. If your task is to influence the visitor with text, and in the center of the first screen you place the picture “to attract attention”, on the contrary, you will distract his attention. The picture captures the look, while the text requires constant advancement of the look below.
If you still need a picture, take a smaller image.
The traditional principle that a video or picture increases the value of text does not work for mobile users. If you write text, write text. If you post a video – post a video. Although the video itself is a good content for mobile users, it does not advance the reader in the text.
With infographics is another story. If the information is not read from a small picture on the phone screen – this is not an infographic, but just a graphic.