Reading mobile content

The key to comprehension is brevity and simplicity.

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.