A mobile-first strategy may be the way you need to plan, create and publish your content.

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When is the last time you spent time with kids, Tweeners and teenagers? Since I am lucky enough to be the mother of three, ages 9-3, and the aunt to kids ages 17-3, I have seen an extraordinary difference in the way kids spend time with each other -- i.e., they don’t.

Instead, when they are together, they are immersed on their individual tablets, phones, parents’ phones or other devices. Yes, they shout out results from Tiny Wings, or tease each other about their lack of drawing skills on Draw Something, but their attention is focused on those screens. Watching them crowd around a desktop computer? Unusual.

Putting aside the educational and developmental concerns this raises in all of us, who believe that children’s minds may need time to wander, away from the allure of Temple Run and Angry Birds, it raises significant questions for those of us responsible for our mobile strategy: are we serving content the way our users want it?

Delivering Content for User Satisfaction

The prevailing wisdom used to be that you design for a desktop experience first, and then chop that down based on mobile personas -- or better yet -- mobile user scenarios. At MoDevUX this past Friday in Washington, D.C., Josh Clark suggested that we’ve all been doing it wrong. He pointed out that people may choose their mobile devices before their desktop devices because they genuinely prefer the interaction on a mobile device.

Watching the kids interact with technology, I’m sure it is true. My kids will sit in the family room, in front of a 42-inch flat screen and watch their favorite shows on the iPad. When I asked my almost seven year old about this, she said, “I don’t know how to work the television.”

Even my three year old knows how to find Thomas on Netflix -- in fact, he can find Dora videos on You Tube. The experience on a tablet was designed to be intuitive and it is -- so why wouldn’t people choose to use those devices rather than a standard desktop?

What does this mean for mobile strategy and mobile content strategy? It means that we may need to adopt a mobile-first strategy, rather than a traditional, desktop strategy first.

It means really spending time with your users to see how they are accessing your content in the mobile space. You must deliver content experiences that truly deliver -- not just cut and paste summaries that only serve to tease, rather than satisfy the mobile user.

Five Ways to Think about Mobile-First

If you are considering your mobile content strategy, here are five things to consider and analyze, before deciding if a mobile-first strategy is right for you:

  1. Analytics -- what is the primary way users are accessing your site?
  2. Web or App -- are you delivering content through a mobile website or an app?
  3. Engagement -- are you noticing a drop off when users access your content through a mobile device? Do they stay engaged with content as long as they do on a desktop?
  4. Conversion -- if you are selling something, then you need to look at your conversion rate on mobile vs. a desktop
  5. Social media -- since a lot of social media interaction happens on mobile devices, it makes sense to measure your interaction. See how your audience is interacting with your content in those spaces.

In summary, it’s important to think about mobile content strategy carefully. If content delivery becomes so device specific, then thinking about channel distribution becomes all the more critical for revenue generation and achievement threshold. In other words, if you want to make more money, make sure you understand how your mobile audience is consuming your content.

Image courtesy of Luba V Nell (Shutterstock).

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