Multiscreen; writing for the web

Duncan Stephen
Wednesday 5 June 2013

Windows on the web

This article is about multiscreen, the increasingly common phenomenon whereby web users begin a task on one device and complete it on another. It is interesting to note that the most common device to start a task on is now a smartphone. This is a big reminder of how important mobile is today.

90 percent of people start a task using one device, then pick it up later on another device—most commonly, people start a task on smartphone, and then complete it on the desktop…

When people start a task on one device and then complete it on another, they don’t want different content or less content, tailored for the device. They want the same content, presented so they can find it, navigate it, and read it. They imagine that their devices are different-sized windows on the same content, not entirely different containers.

It is important for us to bear in mind that different people use different devices. But it is increasingly common for one person to use multiple devices. We need to ensure that people have a consistent experience across multiple devices.

The new multi-screen world: understanding cross-platform consumer behaviour

Google’s highly interesting and digestible report on multiscreen. There are also some interesting findings on how people shop online. I wonder if this also applies to shopping for university courses online.

Please note that this report is now almost a year old, so there have probably been a lot of changes since then too.

Smartphones are the backbone of our daily media use. They are the devices used most throughout the day and serve as the most common starting point for activities across multiple screens. Going mobile has become a business imperative.

Writing for the web — highlights from the Nielsen Norman Group Conference

A web editor reports back from a writing for the web class put on by one of the most influential usability experts. There are some great tips here. This is a must-read for anyone creating content for the web.

Written content is key. Despite what your graphic designer might tell you (and I love the ones I work with), it’s the words on the page that have the most impact on users – not color, not format, not layout. Not blinking boxes or popups or videos. Words are the quickest, simplest way to communicate clearly with users. And they are by far the most effective element on a website for building trust and credibility.

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