Reading mobile content

The key to comprehension is brevity and simplicity.

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Previous research (conducted in 2010 by the University of Alberta) found that content comprehension was impaired when readers were using a small screen.

However, new research found 'no practical differences' in the comprehension scores of its test subjects. The improvement may be down to both improved technology, and a better understanding of how to write content for mobile delivery.

The 2016 research

  • Participants read a variety of articles on different topics and with different levels of difficulty
  • Articles were presented as HTML pages using the same design template
  • Participants read half of the articles on a computer and half of the articles on a phone
  • There was no perceptible difference in reading comprehension between the devices
  • Easy passages were read about as fast on both devices, but hard passages actually took longer on mobile versus computer
  • Content creators still need to focus on brevity and prioritising their content for mobile delivery.

More information on the research.