In recent years, more and more individuals access websites through mobile devices and use mobile as their main method for receiving information from a variety of channels. Recognizing the need to provide information that is mobile-friendly, HHS has been moving toward writing content on websites that keep mobile in mind and are exploring different ways to reach audiences through mobile devices.

What is mobile?

Mobile means different things to different people. It’s easiest to divide mobile into three distinct categories:

Web site adoption to recognize the importance of mobile

  • Content is written in such a way as to be read easily on a mobile device, implementing a bite-snack-meal approach for presenting information. The information is presented in small bites to form a snack, usually 3-4 lines of text to provide the most important information provided on the page at the top of it, so that the site visitor doesn’t need to scroll down, enabling the user to access the most important information quickly.

Developing exclusively mobile versions of websites

  • These “microsites” are completely designed for mobile. These sites contain code specific to mobile and are designed for mobile web tasks and browsing. These microsites often contain pared down information on the same topics covered on the main site. One example is CDC’s mobile site,

Mobile tactics to reach people via their mobile devices

  • Some of the most popular ways to reach individuals through their mobile devices include:
  • Text (SMS), both one-way (receiving text messages) and two-way (text in word to code to receive custom content
  • Apps on smartphones
  • Voice, one-way voice (eg. celebrity voice mail) or two-way voice (traditional phone call)
  • Location-based services, including using maps and social applications, like foursquare, to check-in by location
  • Photo/video, including barcodes, photo lookup, translation, digital watermarks

HHS Mobile Initiatives

Many HHS agencies have adopted mobile as a standard practice in their communications efforts. Several have developed mobile optimized websites which contain code specific to mobile devices. Many HHS website redesigns also incorporate plain language and small “bites” of information so that people viewing the web site through their mobile device can get the most important information on their screen first. 

Mobile Resources

There is a variety of resources on the web on mobile government initiatives and HHS is involved in many groups that promote usability and mobile government practices.

  • mHealth at HHS- The Text4health Task Force, consisting of 35 representatives across HHS, focuses on how to make data available for use by the private sector to develop applications. Under this task force, the mHealth initiative provides additional guidance and information on mobile efforts across HHS.
  • MobileGov Community of Practice- This senior-level, cross-government, multi-disciplinary group strives to educate new adopters and develop best practices in implementing, developing, and creating strategies and services around mobile.
Content created by Digital Communications Division (DCD)
Content last reviewed on August 19, 2015