Teaching Resource: Writing Content for Mobile Devices

As I was reviewing my teaching unit on writing for the Web vs. writing for print, I was fortunate to have the article “Defer Secondary Content When Writing for Mobile Users” land in my email courtesy of Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox.

The article includes research on how people read messages on mobile devices and provides examples of both good and bad content from Groupon, LivingSocial, and Wikipedia.

My plan is to discuss the research and examples Nielsen presents. I may even give my students a reason to use their mobile devices legitimately during class and have them find and share good and bad examples of mobile messages.  They could then write content for a mobile message using one of the prompts in the textbook. Another point of discussion might be how these messages would look in various media (e.g., a printed document, a Web page) and the appropriateness, advantages, and disadvantages of these media. 

Do you have resources that help you teach the various channels for business communication? If  so, we invite you to share them.

2 thoughts on “Teaching Resource: Writing Content for Mobile Devices

  1. Hi, Tom~
    What a great idea—creating spontaneous business messages using the day’s headlines! Thank you, also, for the reminder that even when students think on their feet (and on their Blackberries), they still need to use correct spelling and grammar.



  2. On a given class day I have students who have an I-Pad, a laptop and above all a cell phone/Blackberry. In fact, people who have
    cell phones are never more than three feet away from their
    device, 24/7. It is not unusual to find students who send thousands
    of text messages monthly.

    So, embracing the use of mobile devices is an opportunity to
    teach writing conciseness as these devices can be integrated into almost any subject. I prefer to use these devices spontaneously and require students to develop business messages based on the
    news headlines du jour. I have them think and act quickly and adeptly
    to business decisions in a variety of managerial positions.

    Above all, requiring correct spelling, grammar and brevity to make
    their points is foremost in getting students to think on their feet and respond to potential situations requiring damage control…in minutes.

    I do this because I believe most problems, business or otherwise, are
    created by simply being “too late.” — too late to respond, anticipate and to take advantage of opportunities. Mobile devices
    can be very advantageous in teaching business communications and in a fun way. Any given news day provides ample possibilities.

    Tom Pickering
    Pierce College


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