Guest blogger Rachel Wright discusses the importance of flexible writing skills
when writing for multi-device.
The way that content is presented on screen has become ever more important over recent years, and now it is equally as important as the actual information you are trying to get across.
We’ve all been through the painful experience of zooming, scrolling and swiping the screen to try and read something on a smartphone or tablet, that clearly wasn’t considered in the design of the content.
But it’s not just about having a responsive design of your webpage or e-learning course. It’s about adapting what you write to work with your screen.
Here are 5 things you need to know when
writing for multi-device:
- Your reader is most likely on-the-go
Multi-device users are regularly on-the-go, and often busy people so they don’t have time for a bad user experience.Most mobile traffic accessing webpages while people are on-the-go is directed through links from social media. Therefore the pages you are directing them to need to be filled with bite-sized, image-led articles that are easily digestible, otherwise interest is lost.
- You MUST keep the integrity of the content
When writing for mobile devices, the key is to ensure that the content maintains its integrity at the same time as being condensed. So it is essential that the same message is conveyed even though there are far fewer words on screen than on the desktop version.A university study showed that 70% of the students surveyed reported an increase in their motivation to learn when mobile devices are used properly.
Aurion Learning recently produced some statistics for 2015, stating that currently 74% of people use mobile devices for e-learning.
- You need to write adaptive content for multiple devices
It’s not just about having responsive design for your webpage or e-learning course. It’s about adapting what you write to work with your screen.This means that where you may have a decent paragraph of text on desktop, you need a more condensed version of the content for a smartphone. But the text must maintain the integrity of the necessary information.
- What we write is dictated by the user
Unfortunately we can’t just lump the content for an e-learning course in a few screens and have done with it. The way the message comes across and how it is presented is hugely important to the user.The way they consume content is on their terms, and that means that if they access something on their smartphone that isn’t user friendly for the device, then they will lose interest… and that’s it – you’ve lost your user! We have to produce something pleasing to the eye and easy for mobile users if we want to keep them engaged.
- Think about the user, not the device
How is the user going to access the information and what is the best way to present it to them?When thinking about e-learning, will your user be in a loud environment e.g. a construction site or factory? If so the use of video and audio is rendered useless, even if displayed beautifully on an iPad. Think about your user and how, where and when they will be accessing the learning.
Avoid at all costs:
- Long, complex pieces of information. Keep it succinct and to the point.
- Losing important information by distracting images, graphics and over
the top animations. Keep it relative and distraction free.
- Just text and nothing to lighten the content. Find a middle ground
between too much imagery and too little. A text-heavy page is
- Complex language and jargon. Making something more complicated than
it needs to be is unnecessary and will only baffle your users. Keep it simple
– Rachel Wright
About the author
Rachel Wright is a freelance marketing consultant, copywriter and scriptwriter. With a strong background in the written word, marketing, and a degree in journalism, she has experience in writing across all mediums.
Connect with Rachel on LinkedIn.