Smartphones have changed the way that people use the internet to do — well, just about everything! In particular, though, smartphones have changed the way that people search for — and buy — the products and services they need.
It’s no longer “forward-thinking” to have a mobile-friendly website design for your customers. Now that mobile accounts for 52.2% of all online traffic, a mobile website is a must for any business that wants to stay afloat.
Why do consumers love mobile so much for shopping?
- Customers today are on the move. Micro-moments, in which a consumer acts on an immediate need, are becoming increasingly important to local commerce.
- Consumers like to blend their online and brick-and-mortar experience. 82% use their smartphones to research more about a given product while they’re inside a store.
- The instant access to social media gives consumers a way to look up reviews or communicate with a brand about their experience.
In fact, mobile sites have become so important to the user experience that Google has included it as part of its algorithm for search rankings ever since the “Mobilegeddon” update of 2015. Plus, 57% of consumers say that they wouldn’t recommend a business with a shoddy mobile site to others — so you either have to make your website mobile-friendly or fall far behind your competitors on multiple levels.
What Are Mobile Site “Best Practices” And How Do They Differ From Desktop Sites?
Mobile shoppers care most about convenience. They don’t want to have to squint at product images or pinch to open a picture. They don’t want to fill out their contact information more than once. Rather, they want clarity, brevity, and functionality.
The fundamentals of a user-oriented experience on mobile include:
- Clear, crisp product photos (which 87% of online shoppers consider key to their experience). This often means reducing the number of photos on a mobile page in order to avoid slow loading speeds.
- Minimalist features and clean lines. These make the site faster, the experience smoother, and the site easier to read on a small screen. Lots of graphics play better on desktops than on mobile.
- Simple checkout processes. These include automatic transfers of contact information and “one-click” payment options like Paypal, Amazon Pay, and Google Pay so that consumers don’t have to tap out a lot of information on their phones.
- Prioritized information that focuses around the consumer’s core purpose. Put the features that your consumers use the most at the top of the screen.
- Finger-friendly targets for controls. You don’t want consumers frustrated while they try to tap a tiny touch target. In addition, reduce the amount of hypertext on your mobile pages. Hypertext is easy to click with a mouse but not so easy with a finger.
- Legible fonts (11pt or larger) with good, contrasting colors. Nothing should strain a user’s eyes on mobile, so limit the number of colors and fonts you use on any given page.
- Localized search. Since mobile devices use geolocation services, your mobile site should take advantage of that to add value to your customer’s searches by giving them results that better match their immediate intentions.
Websites that are designed primarily for desktop can look downright busy and cluttered compared to the average mobile site!
Why You Still Can’t Forget About The User’s Desktop Experience
Your customers are using mobile — a lot — but they aren’t just using mobile. While tablets and smartphones definitely rule the night hours, and phones dominate the morning, desktops are still important during the day. A lot of people — 57% — do at least some of their online shopping at work.
That means you can’t afford to throw all your attention on your mobile website design and forget about your customer’s desktop experience. Your customers want a seamless experience across multiple channels.
How Do You Give The User A Seamless Experience Between Desktop And Mobile?
When you design your site, think, “Mobile first, desktop second.”
Why? Because a desktop website designed with the same clean lines and minimalist structure that you find on good mobile sites resonates well with today’s consumer. They don’t need — or want — a lot of flashy extras and fluff.
A simple, well-organized mobile web design that’s optimized right and loads quickly can easily translate to a simple, well-ordered desktop site that does the same. It’s far easier to start designing with the small screen in mind and work your way up to the larger ones than to do it the other way around.
Responsive designs that are laid out on a grid and dynamically adjust for size across all different types of screens can be used to create identical sites no matter what device the consumer chooses to use. It’s also easier for Google to index a responsive site, so there may be some benefit to your search engine ranking as well.
Finally, when you work on your mobile web design, one of the biggest things you can do to create a seamless experience is synchronize your user’s progress from device to device. If a customer gets off mobile, picks up a laptop or tablet, and logs into his or her account on your site, the site should pick up wherever he or she left off.
It can be a big job to redesign your website to accommodate mobile technology and its demands. But a mobile-friendly site is ultimately a customer-friendly site. Your consumers are out there on all kinds of devices, and they want a seamless, simple experience that meets their needs. You can’t afford to leave them disappointed.