February 7, 2013
As the web continues to move steadily into the mobile space, more users expect an experience tailored to their device. As a poorly designed mobile site will damage its usefulness, so too will poorly crafted copy. Mobile devices impose drastically new parameters for users and writers. While moving from desktop to mobile copywriting can feel restrictive, embracing these restrictions compels writers to better define and hone their message. While there are no “magic bullets” for ideal mobile copy, the following guidelines will help ensure mobile copy that is clear, powerful, and extremely versatile.
Make Every Word Count
No user wants to scroll through a large paragraph if they can help it and mobile devices easily turn what was a five-line paragraph on desktop into 15 lines on mobile. Get to the core of your message while maintaining an appropriate tone by trimming any superfluous introductory copy or words. The result should communicate your message without consuming large amount of vertical space.
Break Up Copy
Long paragraphs of text are always hard to read. Use the following techniques to visually break up blocks, making copy easier to navigate and read.
- Add clear, informative headings and subheadings frequently
- Provide spaces between paragraphs
- Use lists and/or bullets where possible
Search Engine Optimization is a veritable tenant of web best practices – meta data, description tags, and keyword should be applied to all pages. However, the copy on a page also plays a role. Make efforts to weave powerful, important keywords into page copy to promote search engine rankings.
Move Content onto Separate Pages
While the ideal solution to long paragraphs of mobile copy is to condense and edit, this is not always possible. Some information simply must represented in its entirely. To avoid exhausting, long mobile pages, dedicate a separate page for each large section of content. Providing links to these pages via buttons or navigation will allow a use to see the full range of content and view only that which they are interested in.
There is no better way to gauge the success of your mobile copy than to see it inaction. If possible, ensure time for internal audiences to preview your copy in site templates prior to launching the page. At minimum, try writing copy in a word editor window with a similar width to a mobile phone. The sooner you work within these restraints, the more likely you are to work with them.