While it is more convenient to consult a 100-page folder or a white paper on the desktop, many other contents are now consumed primarily on the mobile. The L’Equipe website, for example, is one such example, with an audience of 75% mobile users.
For sites in the same situation, the first step is to understand how mobile users consume their content (leisure, travel, an urgent need for precise information, etc.), and what their expectations are in order to offer them ergonomic and satisfactory navigation. Then, the next step is to create content that is adapted to mobile devices.
Organizing a page designed for mobile devices
The pages created for the mobile must be designed with lightness in mind. “The choice of simplicity can give a feeling of impoverishment, but in fact, it is again for reading,” comments Emmanuel Alix, director of L’Equipe’s digital division. For him, thinking about content for cell phones means that pages have to be streamlined, sometimes drastically: “For example, we decided to remove the subtitle that explained the content of the article”. Sober pages, therefore, and “without columns, unreadable on a small screen”, adds Jean-Marc Hardy, co-founder of the Yellow Dolphins agency.
For the latter, it is necessary to start by “taking care of the top of the page, above the waterline”, which must be clear and make you want to see the rest. Choosing larger and obvious CTAs, easily operated with the fingers, and a hamburger menu (composed of three superimposed lines that can be clicked on to show the elements of the tree structure) are all measures that lighten the page and allow the eye to immediately embrace all of its content.
Emmanuel Alix, on the other hand, is more in favor of horizontal navigation, which allows you to swipe the elements with your thumb. The menu of the L’Equipe website is presented in this model.
Jean-Marc Hardy encourages SEOs to consider the level of responsibility they want for their site:
integral: the site is based on a natively responsive technology. It is the most productive and technically easiest system, but it requires them to think about their content in exactly the same way for both mobile and desktop.
separate: an independent mobile and desktop site, with two completely adapted contents.
Switching from one site to the other must be easy.
improved responsive design: the solution that Jean-Marc Hardy describes as “more realistic” because it is more conciliatory. It allows you to decide which blocks are displayed on which screen. With the help of usage statistics for the different elements of the page, the referrer can see that on cell phones, a block is never clicked on a page.
There is then no reason for it to take up space on the screen. A solution that requires a bit of patience but allows to create with precision pages adapted to the uses of its users.
Writing: best practices
For Emmanuel Alix, there is no reason to write content differently for the smartphone or the desktop. Both media require descriptive content, enriched with links, videos, and visuals. Jean-Marc Hardy considers that the main difference lies in the organization of information.
On the smartphone, there is little space to convince the Internet user to continue reading. The web copywriting specialist advises to “select a detail or information that is indispensable but needs to be looked at in greater depth afterward”.
The title and chapters, short and concise, should open up to rich content. On cell phones as elsewhere, Internet users and search engines are eager for information with high added value.
“A long page can work very well on mobile if the layout is readable and the content is interesting”.
Jean-Marc Hardy considers that if Internet users appreciate his style, the editor has no reason to muzzle himself under the pretext that he is trying to reach them via another medium.
On the contrary, adopting a more neutral tone could disappoint them. As for the length of the content, he advises not to make it “too short”. “A long page can work very well on mobile if the layout is well readable and the content interesting. If you make several pages with a too short or too poor content, you risk penalizing the SEO performance of your site”.
Videos / Podcast
For Jean-Marc-Hardy, the video format has the advantage of bringing video and sound together in a complementary way, allowing them to be dissociated if necessary.
The podcast is a very popular format, but more limited since it is only audio. However, they both respond well to mobile uses and help increase user engagement. Therefore, they must be properly promoted. For example, “the use of a video summary of the text content at the top of the page will allow users to quickly pass on the main information and make their CTAs more visible”, considers Olivier d’Aries, SEO manager at Nexity.
On the other hand, he strongly advises against automatically putting sound on videos, in order not to seriously degrade the user experience. After the podcast or video, it is recommended to add CTAs, then a descriptive text containing keywords to help crawlers understand the content of the page.
Sticky elements, which remain fixed on a corner of the screen even when the user scrolls the page, represent an advance in UX on the smartphone. Olivier d’Aries advises to use them for videos, while L’Equipe has added a sticky board on live competitions to keep the score of the match in front of the user.