University Communications

University Communications

Guidelines for Mobile - Content

Writing Content.

  1. Remember what you learned in the Planning step: Provide valuable, timely and relevant content. Eliminate everything else.
  2. Use clear language and be brief and concise. Make it scannable. Aim for 175 words or fewer per page. Think Twitter lengths.
  3. Offer information related to top tasks first. Place additional content later on page or on secondary screens, depending upon importance.
  4. Write in inverted pyramid style – main details first. Who + What + When + Where + Why. Strip out all extraneous details.
  5. Place distinguishing information at the beginning of headings, paragraphs, lists, etc., to help the user contextualize when using devices with limited screen area. (
  6. The first 2 characters in a word, the first 2 words in a sentence, the first 2 sentences in a paragraph. These are the most critical!
  7. People comprehend at a higher level when content is written at a lower level.
    1. shows reading level
    2. b. Can also use Word (Review > Spelling & Grammar – once check is complete, will give report)

  1. Improve reading comprehension with
    1. Shorter sentences
    2. Simpler words & phrases
    3. “Chunk” content. One idea per chunk. No more than 3 sentences/chunk.
    4. Conversational language (“we” instead of company name; “you” to address your audience)
    5. Active voice
    6. No intensifiers (very, more, most, best, etc.)
    7. No introductory phrases (At this point, currently, etc.)
    8. Focus on reader and not yourself.
    9. Useful headings & subheadings
    10. Strong, active verbs; keywords
    11. Outlines that are no more than 3 levels deep and are consistence in style.
    12. Bulleted lists (70% vs. 55% read content in list vs. no list)
    13. Whitespace between items
    14. Left-aligned content
    15. Limited use of bold and color
    16. Events in a list format (not calendar format)
    17. Sans-serif font
    18. Proper contrast between font and background colors
    19. Not using all CAPS
  2. If using lists of items, provide a clear heading with a short description.
  3. Know users’ top questions and answer them (e.g., when does offer expire? What is the due date?)
  4. Keep search engine optimization (SEO) in mind when writing titles and content and naming images.
  5. Headlines and summaries need to be mobile-friendly (short, engaging, descriptive).
  6. Be complete. Just because screen is smaller, doesn’t mean eliminate details that important to the task (e.g., if shopping for shoes, want all the details about the shoe).
  7. Use clear, descriptive link text when linking to additional content. Links should:
    1. Start with keywords
    2. Describe where user will be taken
    3. Appear clickable

Page Title

  1. Provide a descriptive title for the page to allow easy identification. Keep the title short to reduce page weight, and bear in mind that it may be truncated or not display at all.
  2. The device may use the page title as the default label for bookmarks. Again, space may be limited, so use it to help identify the content and not for other purposes.




Picture of readability statistics.

Readability statistics from MS Word.