According to ComScore research, 60% of our digital media consumption is now taking place on mobile devices, which basically means there’s a high probability that your content is popping up on someone’s smartphone. But is your content mobile-friendly?
Though your overall site may fit the criteria for mobile optimization, you may not be considering the content you produce on a regular basis. There are a number of requirements to navigate when making your content mobile-friendly; let’s explore a couple of these through the lens of visual communication and see why visual content for mobile is important.
Mobile Loves Social — Social’s Going Visual
Outside of the utilitarian purposes for mobile (email, text, etc.), the most popular use resides in social media. In fact 75% of those surveyed use smartphones to access their prefered social network at least once a day.
According to Statista, the most popular social networks accessed on mobile devices are channels that rely heavily on visual and short-form content:
If we omit Instagram and Pinterest, which rely exclusively on visual content, and dive a bit more into Twitter and Facebook, which lend themselves toward a mixture of textual and visual content, we see that visual content still dominates. Some 75% of all content shared on Facebook consists of imagery, while tweets with photos attached receive 35% more retweets than those sans the photos.
User Experience is Everything
You may have done your due diligence and researched mobile optimization, boned up on the latest market trends, and developed a competitive analysis — all of which are very important by the way — but you’ll never truly know how well your mobile experience will be received until your customers start using it.
Many organizations conduct usability tests to help them discover gaps and bugs in functionality. Consider running a similar test that focuses on aesthetic and visual understanding.
When it comes to mobile experiences, there’s no doubt that functionality remains Priority #1. But as functionality becomes more formulated, even templated in some aspects, mobile experiences will be judged more heavily on how well the visuals communicate the functionality.
It Doesn’t Stop at Responsive Design
Making your site compatible for mobile devices has become an industry standard, but simply having a responsive site doesn’t mean your content is optimized for the mobile user.
Take, for example, long-form written content that consists of 2,000+ words. This content, though very beneficial for search rankings and social shares, is difficult to digest on mobile devices. That’s not to say there’s no place for long-form content. It’s just a matter of exploring options that can support this type of content through more easily digestible media.
A common, worthwhile visual communication consideration is accompanying your written content with video. Accounting for 55% of all mobile data usage in the US, video is a very versatile medium that can be used across multiple channels and, for the most part, works seamlessly with all devices.
It’s also important to be cognizant of static visual content, as responsive design does have its limits in regards to large images. For example, traditional long-scroll infographics, which typically run up to 1000px wide and +5000px long, are still going to be extremely difficult for the end user to read through. Even something as simple as a header image can cause difficulties. Remedying these situations, however, is actually fairly straightforward; you just need to get a little creative with your visual content.
It’s clear that mobile is now an elemental feature in today’s marketing arsenal. As more organizations throw their hat into the mix, the higher standards will become to create a visually appealing and functionally sound experience.
What visual communication elements do you think are important for mobile?