I was driving to work yesterday across the Bay Bridge. As we passed under the tower of the new eastern span of the bridge, four hands shot out of the windows and sunroof to snap a picture with their cell phones. Every passenger in that car had one. Almost everyone has a cell phone now a days. In an age with unlimited data plans and ubiquitous WIFI, we are always connected.
Text messaging has the power to reach more people than communications through apps or email because an SMS message does not require a data plan or connection to WIFI. A simple text message can relay information with little cost to the recipient or sender.
I have received text messages “alerts” from a variety of information servers: event updates at the mall, special offers from my phone service, updates from stores, reminders for appointments, etc. It is quick it is simple, it leaves the information on your phone for you to look up when you need it.
There are qualities about texts I’ve received that make them more or less successful than others at getting my attention and keeping it. Keep it short and be clear and don’t over text.
Keep it short. If I have to scroll when reading a “quick text” of information, I tend to not read the whole message. Successful communication means that the sender relays a message that the received in full. If it’s too long, and the entire message is not read, then communication was not successful.
Be Clear. In addition to being succinct, being clear and clear in the first 5-7 words of the message is important. If I glance down at my phone when I’ve received a message while I’m “on the go” I want to have an idea what the message is about and how is it relevant. In a health application, the text should immediately address that health issue yet be compelling enough to entice the user to click on the text and finish reading.
Don’t text too often. I had subscribed to receive text messages about “special offers” from a retail outlet I frequent. I started getting 3-5 messages a day and it drove me nuts. I think many of those messages could have been condensed into a single (or two) messages a day rather than bombarding me with bits of information throughout the day.