When ‘Mobile’ means ‘Small’

Karen Mc Grane’s book Content Strategy for Mobile is another “must'” for… well, for everyone working on the web industry, if you ask me! Here are 5 ideas from the book that I believe all companies should bear in mind:

1. Yes, you need your website to be accessible and readable from a mobile (or tablet). Like it or not, users are browsing the Internet from their mobiles. And they are not likely to stop any time soon. If you want to talk to them, you’d better be where they are.

2. Mobile basically means small. That is, mobile doesn’t mean users are on the move. It doesn’t mean they aren’t either. A lot of people browse the Internet on a mobile device while sitting on a sofa, or on a train on their way home, or even in front of their computer. All we know for sure is that they’re searching for information and completing tasks through a smaller screen than a desktop.

3. Your mobile website should give the same information as your desktop website. This doesn’t mean that it needs to look the same, or display the information in the exact same order. All it means is that we need to provide the same experience to all users, regardless of what device they use to access our website. We can’t assume users want specific information just because they’re accessing our web from a small screen that can be carried around.

4. In order to have basically the same content accessible from all devices, we need to find the right approach to publishing content to multiple devices. Developing a separate website for mobiles is very risky because it implies having duplicate processes. Having to create and maintain different but related content is hardly feasible. This basically means that it is important to have reusable content that is independent from visual presentation. In other words, we need content that can be displayed in different ways and still be efficient. For content to be reusable, it needs to be structured. We need to think in terms of packages rather than pages. Small units are easier to be organized and displayed in different ways than big chunks like pages.

5. This one is for developers: we need to improve the user experience of the CMSs, and make them suitable for structured content. Since authors work with CMSs, we need to make it easy for them to create useful content.

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