Change. You can count on it when it comes to all things digital. Technology is changing, consumption of media is changing, devices are changing.
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Best practices change as well, and it’s our job to keep you up-to-date. Below are three major things that mobile consumption of media has changed for web writing. Does your team need training in this area? Don’t forget about our fun, highly-recommended digital writing workshops.
3 Web Writing Conventions Mobile Changed
- Optimizing content to “chrome” ratio: It’s important to know that in general, web design is moving rapidly with the advancement of responsive design (the ability to publish on multiple devices without changing the design each time). One of the trends you will continue to see is hiding the “chrome”, the user interface elements like buttons, menus and other navigational items. This is because on such small screen sizes like watches (yes, these are coming), menus can take up too much of the screen, not allowing the content to breathe.
However, hiding the chrome can often result in confusion for your customers, which makes your content and writing so much more important. Work with your designers to recognize that on smaller devices, hamburger menus and gestures may make the most sense, while on desktops, surfacing the chrome might make more sense. And don’t be afraid to put links into your body content, to help people find the information they want.
The Hamburger Menu: So-called because it looks like a hamburger, this menu icon is popular for mobile websites
- Above the Fold: I will always think of the fold fondly. But, let’s be honest—with mobile devices, the entire concept of the fold is changing rapidly. With the advance of responsive design, the fold changes depending on the device. So how can you write for above the fold when you have no idea where it will be for the user? Further, people scroll much more easily on a touch device than they did when they needed to use a mouse. This relic from the print age is dead, so mourn it and move on!
- Long vs. short pages: We used to argue that pages were too long, and people wouldn’t read that much on one page. Because of the ease of scrolling on mobile devices, people will scroll and scan and scan and scroll, until they find the information they need. In fact, choosing to click on a link and jump to another page is fraught when you’re on a mobile device, as you may be in a bad Wi-Fi spot. We’re still following the advice we always gave: Give people the information they expected and needed from that page and break up the text appropriately with headings.