Since Google started using mobile-friendliness as a factor in their site’s ranking system, businesses have realized that mobile optimization is no longer optional. Mobile isn’t just the future, it’s here now. In fact, in 2015, more Google searches were made on mobiles than on desktops.
If you do your research, you’ll find some impressive stats pointing to the increasing importance of mobiles. 64 per cent of household decision-makers read their email on mobile devices. It’s estimated that by 2017, 87 per cent of total internet sales will be made through mobile devices.
If you want to serve your clients in the best way possible, it’s important to understand the way consumers interact with mobile sites. Loading times, content, usability, bridging the use of desktop and mobile, and the relationship between mobile and brick-and-mortar stores all need to be analyzed when creating your mobile content.
Here are some tips on how to create a superior mobile experience:
Loading Time and Why It’s Important
Keep in mind that people’s behaviour on mobiles is different from their behaviour on desktops. It’s not enough to just transfer your web content to your mobile site. Your mobile site should reflect the interactions that visitors want to have with the site. While lots of photos and visuals are encouraged for desktop versions, on mobiles they can seriously slow down loading time.
About half of mobile users want to be able to load a page in two seconds or less. And 40 per cent of consumers will give up on a page if it takes three seconds or longer to load.
If a customer is using their mobile, that means they could be accessing your site from anywhere. If they’re looking to obtain the address of your store quickly and are standing at a busy intersection waiting for all the images to load to get the data they want, you risk them losing patience and abandoning the page. Or, worse, losing them to a competitor who has more understanding of how customers interact with mobile internet.
Customers often use mobile sites to search for phone numbers, store hours and addresses. If you don’t make this information prominent, your site isn’t doing its job i.e. making it easy for customers to find you when they’re already on the go. Including long descriptions of your product or service on your mobile site is also the wrong approach.
Think again about the person standing at the busy intersection or a car passenger looking for a map or directions on a busy street. People have the time to read your business’ philosophy and watch long videos while sipping tea at home and browsing on their desktops. But their mobile needs and constraints are different.
This is reflected in data on mobile vs. desktop use. The average time spent on a desktop site is four minutes and 38 seconds. For mobile, it’s under three minutes. Keep your content short and to the point and consider what users are looking for on your site when they’re on the go.
Mobile UX Best Practices
Mobile devices have smaller screens and interactions involve tapping instead of clicking. If you have long enquiry/sign-up forms on your website, that’s fine for desktop, but it won’t wash on mobile. Shorter forms with easy-to-use drop-down menus are better for mobile use. Hubspot uses a tool called the Smart Content Optimization System to automatically shorten forms for mobile users. The result was a fivefold increase in mobile leads. Accordion menus are a popular mobile development. They economize screen space and are intuitive to use.
One thing you to want to make room for is sharing buttons for social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. Another thing you should consider is the range of smartphones out there, their capabilities, screen sizes, storage capacity and more. How can you design a mobile site without knowing the ins and outs of the devices they’re being used on?
The Relationship between Desktops and Mobile
Desktops are still far from obsolete. While developing your mobile site, you also have to consider that most people use both. They just tend to use them for different but complementary purposes. For example, it’s common for customers to do a search on their mobiles and then make purchases or enquiries through their desktops.
Make sure you create an easy bridge between the two activities by providing a fast-loading overview of your business on your mobile app and maintaining similar, if not identical, icons such as the shopping cart on both mobile and desktop for action-oriented tasks.
It’s becoming more and more common for customers to use their mobiles while shopping. This is called showcasing. Shoppers browse merchandise in a physical space while comparing prices with other stores and looking for coupons and discounts.
Stores whose mobile sites are programmed to send location-based push notifications can drive traffic to stores by taking advantage of the fact that the customer is nearby and offering a special discount based on customer purchase history. Consumers who access their smartphones while shopping in a physical store are 40 per cent more likely to make a purchase than those who don’t use their smartphones.
Let Google Help You to Evaluate Mobile Friendliness
Since Google has implemented the mobile-friendliness policy in their ranking system, they’ve also provided some guidance on how to evaluate and make changes. A great place to start is their Mobile-Friendly Test tool, which evaluates your site for you. You should also check out their guidebook on mobile-friendly websites.
Make sure you’re using analytics software for in-depth information on your site’s performance, such as the demographics of the visitors, what times of day they’re visiting, who is making purchases, what they’re buying, and which areas of the page attract people the most. All of this information will help you build the most effective mobile site you can for your site’s visitors.
Make good use of these and other tools to enhance your mobile site, and drive in-store traffic and online purchases. That way, revenue will probably increase and it’ll help you keep ahead of the competition!