Why waste time on mobile editorial design? We all know the result…

Why waste time on mobile editorial design? We all know the result…

Let’s be honest about this: a mobile phone screen is not big. A typical one is about 6cm wide and 12cm tall. It’s about half the width of a postcard. Barely larger than a cigarette packet.

Yet we demand so much from it.

We want it to present information in fascinating and exciting ways. Differentiate from our competition. Capture some unique sense of “UX” that makes us stand out. It’s why we reach out to the UX designers.

For apps that makes sense. For blogs, not so.

The truth is when we’re working on a blog there’s not a lot we can do with that small space. A single column of text with a small margin on either side. A nice header, a footer leading away to more content. Somewhere a menu gets hidden away. That’s it.

This isn’t a “bad thing”. People use mobiles to consume information on the go, so simple and fast experiences are ideal. When they want to sit down and be entertained, or need to do more involved research, they’ll move to a larger device. That’s where investments in editorial design will pay better dividends.

I’ve sat in countless meetings with highly paid UX specialists and over-eager clients debating points in design that I know won’t go anywhere. After all the prototypes have settled the result is the same: a blog with a single column of text, header, footer etc. We tweak the edges, add some snazzy JavaScript to make something pop up at the right moment. But the core never changes.

When you’ve got a limited budget you will probably be better off keeping the mobile site simple, focusing on clarity in the fonts you use and divert more of your design budget to larger screens.

Not for a moment am I suggesting we shouldn’t explore what’s possible. In a quiet moment someone might have a break-through. Right now though, we all know what your blog posts and feature articles will look like. Better to invest that budget in something people will value.

About Ross A Hall

A business researcher and writer, I help companies find new markets, form strategies and build successful businesses.

Find out more about my work.

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