Online Information 2010: Mobile content

What are the challenges of creating content for a mobile environment?

Any organisation that has a website is a 'publisher', while many of us, whatever our job role, are 'content creators'.   We all need to be aware of the constraints to our content when it is viewed on a mobile device.

At Online Information 2010, Alan Pelz Sharpe of the Real Story Group, spoke about the challenges that the rapid uptake of mobile devices poses to publishers.

His advice is that we need to move away from a conceptual model that breaks content into pages and begin focusing on ‘chunks' of information.  You also need to be aware that your content can not rely on drop down menus, or double clicking for navigation. 

Content has to be adapted and sometimes cutting it down simply might not be enough.  New content creation templates are required - for example the titles of content ‘chunks' will need to be shorter.

Information creators have the following options:

  • Do and change nothing
  • Simple repurposing i.e. remove the images
  • Broad targeting i.e. target key devices (e.g. iPad or BlackBerry) and create versions for them
  • Fine targeting - granular but complex and expensive. However, this might be crucial for some companies - b2c for example

The Real Story Group chose the third option - they create multiple versions of content suitable for different types of devices. 

Publishing will become an exercise in trade-offs but an 'old rule' continues to apply - we must always focus on our audiences when we create content.