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5 Tips for Creating Visual Content that Compels Mobile Users

You don’t need to crunch the data to know that mobile device penetration continues to increase, while desktop usage declines. From a marketing perspective, this signals an increased need for mobile-friendly content. But what exactly makes content mobile-friendly in the first place?

The Shift Towards Mobile-First Content

Google continues to confirm what we’ve now known for years: Internet users are increasingly reliant on mobile devices to access the web. In the past, the search engine giant has looked at web pages through a desktop searcher. But with Google’s mobile-first index, they’ll now prioritize the mobile versions of each web page, giving second priority to desktop versions.

This means you can no longer afford to sit on the sidelines. If you want your content to be highly effective and engaging, you must acknowledge the shift towards mobile and accommodate accordingly.

5 Tips for Creating Mobile-First Visual Content

It’s not just textual content like blog posts and news articles that need to be optimized for mobile users. You also need to pay attention to your visual content and how you’re creating, sharing, and engaging readers. Here are a few helpful tips and tricks:

  1. Simple is Best

When it comes to mobile, nothing beats simple. The last thing you want is for your users to feel the need to zoom in and out, or scroll across. This hurts the user experience and limits the content’s efficacy.

Complex charts and graphs are best reserved for desktop. Memes, video, and concise graphics are ideal for mobile devices. Stay away from presentations and slideshows, as they almost always fall flat.

  1. Design for Scrolling

Smartphones are built on the premise of vertical scrolling. Whether it’s social media, search engines, or web pages, users are conditioned to swipe their thumbs up in order to move down a page. When developing visual content, be sure to optimize with this in mind.

Take infographics as an example. While this content format isn’t great for mobile, it can be optimized in order to achieve better results. According to marketer Amber Masciorini, you should: focus on main points rather than detailed text; break the graphic up into subheadings with distinct content sections; and keep the infographic width to 640px or below to prevent the need for horizontal scrolling.

  1. Keep Video Short

Video is great for mobile, but you need to keep it short. If you can’t communicate an idea in 60 seconds or less, it probably needs to be reworked. Ideally, you should be able to do it in 15-30 seconds. This is the sweet spot on platforms like Instagram and Twitter.

  1. Annotate Screenshots

Want to quickly communicate an idea to your mobile users in a mobile-friendly interface? Try taking a screenshot (on a mobile device, of course), annotating, and sharing. The familiar feel of the visual will really draw people in.

  1. Make Content Top-Heavy

Heat maps and eye-tracking software show that desktop users tend to consume content in an F or Z pattern. Mobile users not so much. There simply isn’t enough space on the mobile screen to accommodate these patterns. However, we do know that mobile users tend to look at the center of the screen.

“On mobile devices, it seems that, on average, user attention is focused on the center and top half of the mobile screen,” explains Briggsby, a consulting firm that’s spent time studying mobile user behavior. “On average, 68% of attention is given to the top 1/2 of the screen and 86% of attention is given to the top 2/3 of the screen.”

When designing visual content for mobile, assume that people won’t see the bottom third of the screen. This will help ensure maximum impact.

Engage Your Mobile Users

Mobile isn’t going anywhere. Over the next few months and years, it’ll continue to stake its claim as the primary channel for internet users. From a marketing perspective, you can’t afford to ignore the significance of this reality. Put mobile first, or slide into obsolescence.

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