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November 19, 2020

Going beyond the written word: how to make your content mobile-friendly

Writing copy is only a fraction of the content creation process. With mobile usage on the rise, content form and enhancing the user experience (UX) is playing an integral role in whether your content is read or not.One of the most common mistakes you can make is to simply write content, distribute it and cross it off your list.

The key to boosting engagement, generating leads and adding value through content is to optimize its form and structure to suit modern-day market behaviors.People no longer want to sift through text-heavy content. In fact, according to Time, an average reader will only give their undivided attention for just 15 seconds.
The reality is, you can write the best piece of copy in the world, but if its form doesn’t factor in mobile users and their experience, you’re missing a serious trick.

„I think especially after the pandemic, people are looking for an optimized experience on their mobiles.”

– Aymeric Baranowski

The rise of the mobile age and its social impact

Modern society’s shift towards mobile technology has placed a greater emphasis on content accessibility and aesthetics. A piece of content can no longer be just a useful and compelling read, it must also factor in the way the world chooses to consume it.
The Creative Technologist at Rakuten DX, Aymeric Baranowski, said: “I think especially after the pandemic, people are looking for an optimized experience on their mobiles. From our experience at Rakuten DX, we know for a fact that 9 out of 10 people check a company on their phone before taking action.We’re living in a world where people want quick access to information and expect it to be easy to find.

And when they find the content they’re interested in; they want it to be beautiful. For businesses to create achieve this, they must go beyond just writing compelling and valuable copy. It must also take the technicalities and the user experience into account.”
The way people read on a mobile device is different from the way people read on a desktop or laptop. For example, a desktop reader is usually drawn to the content that’s situated on the top left section on a website, while a mobile reader is more distributed across the screen.

So, when it comes to publishing content or sending important content collateral to people, there isn’t a single important area to optimize first. All the content needs the same level of mobile optimization.
This not only helps boost search engine rankings, but it helps deliver a more user-friendly experience for the reader too. Creating mobile-friendly content is all about breaking down the different elements and dedicating more time to optimization.

How to make your content mobile-friendly: Information architecture

A key area Aymeric Baranowski pointed out in the quest for mobile-friendly content is information architecture (IA). Information architecture focuses on organizing, labeling and structuring content in a user-friendly way. It helps users find the information they’re looking for more quickly.
Aymeric explains: “Few companies have a clear information architecture on their online content to say what a header is, what a quote is, what body content is.
Having information architecture in place is good for referencing because the different algorithms bring a lot of importance to this “technical” hierarchy.”
Without any IA in place, your content structure is based on biases, instead of logic and analytics. It’s essentially like building a custom house without listening to what the buyer wants. Yes, you can get it right. But your chances are slim. Information architecture gives you the blueprint to improve the way your content is consumed.

Balancing beauty with functionality

One of the biggest challenges of creating mobile-friendly content is finding a balance between mobile optimization, animation and interactive content.
On the one hand, it’s essential to add plenty of imagery to break-up any content chunks and give the content a visual appeal. But on the flip side, you don’t want it to slow down or a poor quality one to ruin the user experience.

Graphs and charts are a prime example as they often lose their legibility on small screens. To combat this, you must ensure your users can interpret your data without having to squint or zoom in. This can be achieved by either making the graph/chart bigger or including bullet points with key findings instead.
Aymeric Baranowski says “Many businesses often fail to optimize their photographic images which slows download times and distorts the layout of the copy. I also find a large majority don’t recreate their content for the web. For example, square format content is optimized for most social networks, but less so for blog type web content.”
If you add a fade transition effect from the header banner to the content it brings more reading comfort and interactivity. However, if it’s done badly, the phone memory will be too busy, and it slows down the experience.”
The bottom line is that your content must load quickly enough to cater to today’s ‘on-the-move’ market, as well as look great to satisfy rising visual expectations.

Use smarter insights

The other way of making your content more mobile-friendly and improving the UX is to use analytics and insights to your advantage. People are cognizant of standard layouts and forms. To encourage them to actually read the copy, content needs to be smarter. This involves adapting existing content which makes it possible for readers to consume it in a more interactive, enjoyable fashion and allows marketers to gain a better understanding of how it performed.
A prime example of this is PDF content, such as white papers, e-books, brochures and other long-form thought leadership copy. Aymeric explained; “With a PDF, you don’t know if the target audience is reading it or just reading certain pages and navigating away. But with responsive content, you can add tracking analytics to monitor behaviors. The development of artificial intelligence (AI) is allowing you to make this transition from PDF to interactive content and providing a classic analysis of the world of web marketing.”
Analytics and AI have become smarter. They let you see how long someone spends on the page, what they clicked on and even whether they read the article more than once. For the latter, this gives you an idea of whether the content is clear or not. Giving you a basis to repurpose or amend certain pieces.” All of these deeper insights attained through AI helps you gain a better understanding of how people consume content and offer guidance on how you can tweak the style to make the copy more digestible.
Part of this process is about analysis and evaluation. Implement modern-day analytics into your content creation process and you’ll find it easier to set better KPIs and improving its ROI.

Need a hand making your content mobile-friendly?

When you break the content creation process down into smaller components, it can feel overwhelming. To create content which crafts the right message and adds true value for your audience takes time and resource. It’s because of this reason why the publishing and the mobile optimization sides of the process are often overlooked or rushed. You may have the best 1,500-word blog or 50-page white paper with industry-leading insights, but it won’t hit the mark if you don’t consider the content form, the design and the analytics. Especially if you’re publishing content frequently.

At Rakuten DX, you bring your ideas and we build the solution. Our Smart Digital Designer service is an AI-powered mobile service designed to accelerate the time it takes to publish on any mobile device. Using analytics and the latest AI, we’ll manage and configure your content, ensuring your copy is fit for the smaller screen and performs to its full potential. Giving you more time to focus on the content writing side. For more information, get in touch with our team today.

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