Mobile vs Desktop how content changes: the increasing use of mobile devices for searching for information has changed the way content must be created not only to optimize search engine rankings, but also to better interact with mobile users .
Mobile vs Desktop: how content changes. That is, should the content differ? It is a question that lends itself to various reflections.
The growing use of mobile devices first forces us to understand how to better interact with mobile users.
How? By rethinking how content is to be presented (as well as producing more visual forms of content such as infographics, etc.).
If your content is not “mobile ready” you are less likely to be seen and found by your audience, even compared to just one year ago.
But to the question: Mobile vs Desktop how does the content change? The answer is no and let’s see why.
The content offered to both mobile and desktop users should be nearly identical, except how it is presented. But if we admit that mobile and desktop content must be the same, then writing for mobile devices changes the way we write for the web.
One of the key differences in desktop versus mobile content is the presentation of the content. Desktop screens are much larger and can display far more content at the same time than can be done on a smartphone.
If you’ve written with your visitors in mind and focused on what information is needed to create a great user experience, changing content for mobile only is unreasonable. On the other hand, if you’ve written your content with SEO in mind, without really considering what your visitors need, it’s just as foolish to put that content on your mobile site or desktop site.
The content developed for your visitors is the content they need, regardless of the device. But when we need to modify content for mobile audiences, we need to use what we learn about the usability of mobile content and apply it to the desktop as well.
Scrolling with the mouse on a desktop or mobile is quite simple. But on a mobile device, scrolling isn’t that easy.
Let’s look at a Wikipedia page from a desktop – it looks like a typical page with tons of content. But when we view the same page on a mobile device, we see some pretty significant differences.
On the surface, it might appear that the page has less content, but it doesn’t. It’s just that the content is split into an accordion menu, making it available on command.
Presenting chunked content for mobile users is a great way to reduce the amount of scrolling needed by giving readers the opportunity to see what content they are most interested in reading. Those content blocks represent specific blocks of information that can be read in any order because each section is, essentially, a self-contained chapter.
Instead of using headings to break up your content, break it down so that each section becomes self-contained like the Wikipedia page above. This is what really works for mobile, so let’s apply it to the desktop too.
One of the arguments put forward against SEO is that it requires too much content on the page to optimize it. It is wise to do what is best for the visitors. If we’re concerned about the amount of content visible on a single page, let’s put it aside and focus only on the amount of content needed to provide visitors with the information they need.
This could be a paragraph, which could contain several paragraphs depending on the page. We don’t think about the amount of content on each page. Instead, let’s focus only on the value of the content. We keep what is precious and leave the rest.
Ultimately, if the content is “too much” for the page, we can make some of this content available on demand in a similar way to how mobile devices use chunking.
This is usually a problem on product category pages. You want to make sure your first row of products ends up above the fold (on the viewable page before scrolling). If the text pushes the content too low, we need to cut it.
On the desktop, you can do this in several ways. The simplest is to display a paragraph or two of content with a call to action to “keep reading” or “read more”. When clicked, the rest of the content is displayed, pushing the rest of the page information down. This allows the reader to read the content if needed, or they can skip it by keeping it closed and get the products directly.
In conclusion, the web is constantly evolving and the way we write and present content must evolve with it. While we present information differently between devices, it doesn’t mean that we have to present different information but that new technologies must affect old ways of doing things, even when using those old technologies.
We need to change the old way of thinking and writing our content for the new generation of devices. Mobile sites need to be easier to use than desktop devices – we adopt for the desktop what works for mobile devices.