I like good design. I think most of us intrinsically will gravitate towards the certain something that exudes good design features. Think Ikea or Apple. I like good design and have become so spoilt by the revolution in UX that has occurred over the last 10 years, that I experience real anxiety when fronted with something that gives me an ‘unnatural’ user experience. It doesn’t really happen that often, and if you have read my previous posting on ‘Where’s the logic: PDF for Mobile Apps?’

This post looks at the best ways to read on digital – in particular on mobile devices. The basic premise thankfully has been detailed by Anne Mangen, a professor at the National Centre for Reading Education and Research at the University of Stavanger, in Norway:


“Certainly, as we turn to online reading, the physiology of the reading process itself shifts; we don’t read the same way online as we do on paper.”


The conclusions reached as such that people skim read more on digital – and hence deep reading does not occur as naturally – the reason is largely attributed to noise, distractions etc. Busy screens and other demands for our attention can distract from deep reading – reading that ingrains comprehension and retention of concepts and ideas. (It’s an ironic article really, being long, I felt myself naturally moving to skim mode, and hence needed two or three passes to fully understand the message!)

So given that digital is not going away, what should be the best way to format articles such that the reader gets the intended benefits? Two things. 1) Atomisation of Content, and 2) Reading Flow.

1) Atomisation of content – this is the art of taking content – a single article, and tailoring it for the platform that it will be consumed on. An article on Facebook will need to look different from the same content on LinkedIn, vs Twitter, Snapchat. The goal is to make the content as digestible as possible for a particular channel.

2) Reading Flow – you may have noticed that many of the better reading experiences that you will experience incorporate scrolling of articles (rather than pages, or pinching to zoom in and out of an article). People don’t scroll is an urban myth from the 90’s (before the UX revolution!) – and it is the only way to read longer articles on a mobile device without resorting to violence.

So what is the conclusion – digital is not print, and hence the rules are different. Attention spans have shortened – or rather there is so much more competing for a finite quantum of attention. You have to build your platforms accordingly. Scrolling is good. Reflow Apps are the future. Content must be atomised prior to distribution. Here at Reactive DPS we can help you with the next stage of your digital journey – allow you to invigorate your content to achieve higher digital revenues.