How Mobile Users Consume Mobile Content

When a person reads a magazine, it’s fair to say they’re reading an article differently than they would if they read the same article on the Internet. In fact, these two models were the primary way to read for many years. It took a long time for most people to figure out how to turn the Internet into a business model (and many publications still are figuring it out), but the past few years have introduced a new dilemma for content producers: Mobile users and how they consume mobile content.

Now, instead of designing for print and the desktop, publishers and designers have to work to accommodate hundreds, if not thousands, of different screen sizes and resolutions.

That kind of design work is hard in and of itself, but it’s not just about making your content fit on smartphones and tablets. It’s all about managing and meeting people’s mobile expectations. People read differently on phones and tablets than they do magazines and desktops. So what can you do to rise to the challenge and surpass consumers’ expectations?

It’s All About Mobile Optimization

Last year, a Google survey indicated if a website isn’t supported on mobile devices, many people will “move on” and won’t return. That single stat really sums up the entire article: Consumers are more likely to use, enjoy and purchase products from companies that take mobile devices seriously.

More than 70% of users said that a mobile site was important to them, but 96% of users have encountered websites that aren’t optimized for mobile use. Stats like this indicate that not only is it important that businesses continue to take advantage of mobile opportunities, but also that there is space left to stand out in what is surprisingly not as crowded a space as one would presume.

The bottom line is that if people aren’t able to get what they want from a company’s mobile site, not only are they not likely to return, but they also consider it a bad brand experience. That being said, it’s not as easy as whipping together mobile designs in a day. Mobile customers want more than that because they use their phones and tablets differently than they use their desktops. For instance, social media is the most popular activity on tablets after reading, so mobile users expect integration with social media on a smartphone. So what can be done to improve a business’ content for mobile users?

Thinking Big About Small Screens

More than anything, what mobile users want are easy-to-use interfaces that are both legible and functional. 78% of them only want to tap once or twice to get to any information they need. Content publishers need to make sure that it’s not hard to reach all the necessary content within their mobile websites. They need to remove all the cruft that makes getting from the title page to the articles more difficult than it should be: Cruft like unnecessary images, infinitely scrolling menus and inadequate menus with too many options.

The bottom line is that 74% of all mobile users expect mobile content to look clean and efficient. They want to be able to scroll either up and down or left and right, but not all four. They expect an easy way to save content for later (and there are many different Read Later services, like Instapaper or Pocket, that make that process even easier). They want a simple search bar that’s attractive and easy to find.

With smartphone ownership reaching 70% among affluent adults, and since 36% of all email is opened for the first time on a mobile device, it’s time everybody took mobile design seriously. Everything from newsletters to magazines to web-based stores needs to be designed with the mobile user in mind, especially since smartphone ownership is higher amongst adults with larger annual incomes. But smartphone users aren’t interested in just beautiful, interactive layouts. They want more than that.

Speed Things Up

All the data shows that users want content faster, and they want it faster all the time. A couple years ago, it was reported they wanted a website to load in five seconds or less. Last year, Keynote Competitive Research released a report that says two-thirds of users want a website to load in four seconds or less. Within a year, speed expectations rose by 20%, a huge increase when we start talking about the milliseconds on the clock. In fact, the same survey says that a slow website is the top mobile frustration for users.

If that’s not enough to swallow, 60% of tablet owners want sites to load in three seconds or less. That’s 25% faster than what smartphone owners are after, and publishers need to take note because tablets are the secret sauce for the digital publishing market right now. Everybody reads on a tablet. In fact, Online Publishers Association says accessing content is the top activity on a tablet.

This means content has to be delivered quickly. This is another big reason publishers should consider simpler aesthetics for their content: It’s faster than content loaded with flashy media and millions of menus.

And finally, the big reason publishers need to make sure their content loads faster than ever before? According to Keynote’s research, only 12% of customers are willing to wait for a slow website to load. It’s time for action.

How Readz Helps Make Mobile Easier

At Readz, we value mobile content, and as mobile people, we understand it. As developers, engineers and designers, we also understand how difficult it can be to get content on every platform out there. Developing for iOS and Android isn’t easy. That’s why we’ve laid the groundwork.

Our HTML-based content apps are the easiest ways to publish newsletters, brochures, manuals, reports and magazines. We’ve built all our apps with HTML5, so they can be installed onto any device directly from the web — no fuss required, and no App Store necessary. Not only that, but our templates look beautiful on any desktop display as well.

To help content publishers get their content on all mobile devices as quickly and efficiently as possible, we’ve created a visual editor for easy content and template editing. Publishers are in complete control of their content and its publication schedule, but publishing it through Readz saves them the time, energy and money it would take to develop native apps.

In short, Readz lets publishers focus on what should matter: Their content. We’ve already taken care of the rest, and we think it’s the best platform for mobile users.

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Builder. Marketer. Technologist. CEO @Readz | The one-stop solution for brands to create interactive brand content for the web | organic foodie beerie | paleo | cyclist | Los Angeles