Simpler than simple

I have always been intrigued by technology, communication, and the intersection of the two. In fact, in graduate school, I wrote my comprehensive assessment paper on the ways emerging communication technologies change the way we communicate—for better or worse.

That was eight years ago (yikes!). Since then technology has changed. Attention spans have changed. Literacy rates have changed. But how do we adapt? How do we reach our target audience(s) where they are? How do we modify old writing techniques to fit the needs of an oversaturated, all-consuming, 24-7 digital world?

Here are some tips for making your literary pantry mobile friendly:

  1. Keep it short—and simpler than simple.

For usability expert Jakob Nielsen, Ph.D., “Short is too long for mobile.” And if short is too long, then our messages need to be simpler than simple.

  1. Go easy on short-term memories.

According to Nielsen, “Content comprehension suffers when you’re looking through a peephole, because there’s little visible context. The less you can see, the more you have to remember, and human short-term memory is notoriously weak.” Knowing this, messages need to be compelling, relatable, memorable, and short.

  1. Chunk information to support scanning.

 When is the last time you read a 32-page printed marketing piece, cover to cover? I bet it wasn’t recently. When is the last time you read a 32-page printed marketing piece on a phone? Likely never. Truth is, we’re all guilty of scanning. There is not enough time in the day to consume the sheer volume of information that is coming at us. We don’t read as fast online, and on a phone, the pace is even slower. For some, it hurts. Call it computer vision syndrome, short-sightedness, or good old fashioned eye strain, but the reality is our eyes are not designed to consume 4,000+ messages marinated in blue light and delivered on a handheld screen from sunup until sundown. So, for all these reasons and more, we scan. And because we scan, our readers rely on us to chunk information to support scanning and improve comprehension.

  1. Give in to shrinking and divided attention spans.

 The statistics are everywhere. Attention spans are shrinking and divided. So, be upfront. Be quick. Be brief. Tell your audience what’s in it for them. Don’t wait to ask them to act or to tell them what they need to know. Use compelling visuals to reinforce relatable and memorable messages. And, if you can, embrace the brevity of it all.

If you ever need a messaging boost, contact us at success@parishgroup.com or 828.505.3000. We’re here to help, and together we do BIG things.

Until next time,

Maria