How to write for mobile readers

Overcome 5 obstacles to reading on smartphones

Reading your webpage on a smartphone is like reading War and Peace through a keyhole.

5 obstacles of reading on smartphones

Hard copy Reading on a smartphone is tough, thanks to five major usability issues. Image by Omar Prestwich

It’s not easy to reach readers on mobile devices. The small screen size, touchscreen and more add up to a lot of usability issues.

Here, according to Raluca Budiu and Jakob Nielsen, authors of User Experience for Mobile Applications and Websites, are 5 obstacles to look out for when writing for the mobile web:

1. Screen size

Smartphones have touchscreens that are about 3.5-x-6.5-inches large, according to Budiu and Nielsen’s definition. That’s a tiny window through which your visitors see your webpages, blog posts, news releases and social media status updates.

That means that the content displayed above the fold on a 30-inch monitor requires five screens on a smartphone. As a result, mobile web visitors must:

Overcome these obstacles to reaching mobile readers

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“The phrase ‘mobile usability’ is pretty much an oxymoron.”
— Jakob Nielsen, “king of usability”

Get the word out on the small screen

How to write for mobile websites

Consider the numbers:

  • Reading on a mobile device cuts comprehension by 48%, according to University of Alberta research.
  • Visitors read 30-milliseconds-a-word slower on smartphones, says usability expert Jakob Nielsen.
  • But although mobile reading takes longer, people spend half the time on mobile sites as they do on desktops, according to a study by the Nielsen Norman Group.
Writing For the Web and Mobile

Work the phone Learn to write webpages that draw mobile and desktop visitors to your site. Image by NeONBRAND

In this environment, how do we reach readers online? Best practices for web and mobile copywriting can help. In fact, just 3 simple tweaks have been proven in the lab to boost usability more than 124%.

At Writing For the Web and Mobile — our two-day online-writing master class on Dec. 11-12 in Miami — you’ll learn to write webpages that draw mobile and desktop visitors to your site; help them read faster, remember more, understand better, find what they’re looking for and enjoy the experience enough to come back.

Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

  • Make every piece you write easier to read and understand with our 6-step system
  • Get proven-in-the-lab targets for readable paragraph, sentence and word lengths.
  • Measure, monitor and manage readability with a cool — free! — tool.
  • Increase reading by hitting one key on your keyboard more often.
  • Use the fastest, most effective approach for condensing your message dramatically.

Save $100 when you grab one of our early bird tickets.

“Between Ann’s casual yet energetic style and the mind-blowing, data-backed info, this workshop rocks all the way.”
— Wendy Perkins, content specialist, San Diego Zoo Global

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Miami | Dec. 11-12

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