A good rule to remember when writing for mobile is – if in doubt, leave it out.
Use inverted pyramid style, just like a journalist. Put the most important information up front in short, simple sentences.
A standard mobile screen fits approximately 100 words. Roundabout, fluffy writing should be replaced with direct and concise content formatted in a way to make text easy to read and scan.
How to Make Content More Direct and Concise
- Cut the fluff. A good exercise is to delete your first paragraph and see if the page works as well without it.
- Leave out greetings, transitions, and framing phrases such as, “the following information,” or “welcome to the department.” Say what you mean in as few words as possible.
- Divide content into paragraphs of 50 words or less. One-sentence paragraphs are OK.
- Defer supporting and detailed information to accordion expandables or secondary pages. However, a best practice to follow when deferring information is to make the click for the extra information worth the effort. You might frustrate someone if an accordion or secondary page only contains a few sentences, or if they have to open the majority of accordions or visit several pages of content to have their questions answered. It’s also important to use web-savvy titles when deferring information.
- Avoid within-page links (also known as anchor tags or jump links) when deferring to supporting information because it violates user expectation that links bring up new pages. If you find yourself needing to rely on with-in page links for secondary content, there is a good chance your content should be structured differently by using expandable accordions to condense long pages, or using headers to break up larger chunks of content on a page into different sections.
Questions about optimizing your content for mobile? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.