mobile usabilityBesides high quality standards in content, the usability of reading news on mobile devices is decisive to gain traction in an attractive and wide-reaching advertising environment for mobile campaigns preferred by users. Take a look at the following tips on how a mobile website should be designed to be most useful and marketable:

• Keep navigation compact: Especially when on the go, mobile users jump quickly from one subject to another on news portals, hence, the navigation should be intelligible and compact, allowing users to switch easily to any topic on the page they are interested in.

• Allow shortcuts: Shortcuts to the main categories are particularly important, as they bring the user effortlessly and directly to the latest and most popular content of the mobile page. Keep in mind that at the end of the article pages, cross-links are generally in high demand.

• Always offer new and fresh content: Already on the landing page, users expect to get a quick and informative overview of all current content. The latest news and direct links to the newest content should be displayed right at the top of the page to facilitate a rapid news overview.

• Ensure operability via touch: The input via touch requires a more tidy and simplistic web design than on the desktop. All interaction elements should be large enough to comfortably be handled with your fingers, hence, a physical size of at least 7x7 mm with intervals of at least 2 mm is recommended.

• Make operating elements visible: While users generally recognize all clickable elements quite quickly, touch interaction elements still have to be learned by many. Therefore, on mobile pages it should be made clear, which elements are functional and what is behind them.

• Offer swipe gestures for scrolling feature: By now, most smartphone users expect the swipe gesture for the scroll function. However, the feature is only fun, if it is intuitive and works smoothly.

• Keep the load times short: Generally, it is all about getting quick access to information, therefore, the loading times should be kept as short as possible. For this purpose, it is recommended not to display content immediately in full length but upload only as much as needed.

• Align the layout with the use of the smartphone: A good mix and a reasonable size of image and text are preferable for the small smartphone screen. Hence, the images should be easily recognizable, but never take up the entire visible range.

• Select a clear caption: To make the reading of the mobile page as pleasant as possible, the clearest possible typeface should be chosen. Of course, even the font size must be adapted to the small size of the smartphone.

• Offer easy sub-functions: Sharing information with friends is just as important on the smartphone as on the desktop. Therefore, all relevant "sharing" functions should be easy to find and easy to use on mobile as well.

Hopefully, these few tips will help you to catch up to mobile users’ expectations and encourages you to make your content mobile-friendly sooner rather than later, if not already done so, especially since their number will only be increasing in the course of time.

By Daniela La Marca