Your mobile design is a critical piece of your overall mobile content strategy—and it’s is a tough thing to get right. Believe me, I know—I’ve wracked my brain for hours trying to figure out the best path to take to optimize experiences for all of my visitors. There are just so many variables in play—literally millions of device and browser combinations, operating systems, and connection speeds. How can designers and content marketers come together to produce an experience that meets the customers’ needs in every scenario?
To be honest, you can’t unless both your budgets and time are unlimited. You can, however, hedge your bets and produce awesome experiences for the majority of your customers by overcoming just a few responsive key design hurdles.
1) You’re Creating Desktop Content for Mobile—and Vice Versa
Your customer likely has different intentions and priorities on various device types. For example, if they’re on a desktop or laptop computer, they may be in research mode. They’ve sat down on a large screen device with some time on their hands to really dig into a topic. They want to look at your content, quickly understand if it’s what they’re looking for, and then get into the whole story on this device, because they have the time available to read deeply and digest the information more thoroughly.
On a mobile device, their intentions are likely different. They may be on a lunch break at work and just had an idea pop into their head that they want to skim the surface on for now. They want the key points, not a deep dive, but if it’s relevant, they may come back for more.
If you don’t tailor your content to these varying intentions, you may lose your customer. If you’re providing the “whole story” on a mobile device in a way that’s not very skimmable, they’re going to feel overwhelmed and bounce. You have to consider (and better yet—measure) the intentions of your users on different mediums and provide them with an experience tailored to the device, expectations, and priorities.
2) You Make Big Changes Based on Data—Before Testing
It’s important to take a balanced approach when it comes to your data. Data doesn’t lie, but the stories that data tell us are very much open to interpretation. Invest some time and effort into understanding your site’s metrics, the behaviour of your users, device types, screen sizes, resolutions, and observed content consumption preferences, but it’s equally important that you don’t make drastic changes without testing first. The best advice is to not guess but to test if you’re not sure. Provide two (or more) experience variations to your users and see which experience works best.
3) Your Design Lacks a Clear Content Hierarchy
The concept of hierarchy is critically important to both designers and content marketers, and forms the basis for both mobile-responsive design and content messaging structures alike. It’s important to designers because they’re tasked with satisfying a list of priorities that need to be met and represented correctly on the page. For example, your page may have a call to action (CTA) that’s the most important element on the page. If your elemental hierarchy isn’t clearly defined, that CTA may end up at the bottom of the page on mobile, where no one will see it or click on it.
Hierarchy is equally important to content marketers because they must understand how any given page will “respond” on various devices. The order content is presented to the user is a critical piece of the overall message. Does that sidebar stack before or after the body? Do the images display before or after their sub-heading labels? Sometimes the designs aren’t as clear as they should be on these behaviours, and suddenly, the user’s experience is lost somewhere in translation between the design and the content.
One of the best ways to alleviate some risk of hierarchical clarity is to have your content marketers participate in the re-design process.
4) Your Content Is Too Responsive
Mobile responsive, by its very definition, means that the browser takes your website’s content and makes it respond differently depending on the size of the user’s browser. The content itself doesn’t change, only the way the content is presented to the user does.
What if the content itself could be more device responsive as well? It sounds good on the surface, but you have to be careful with this decision. If you make incorrect assumptions about your visitors’ content consumption preferences, you may end up suppressing content that’s important to them. Make it too inconvenient to view that “extra” content and you might lose them as well.