Smartphone usage is reaching critical mass. In the UK, mobile penetration has reached 51%; 59% of those people access the Internet with their device every day and most never leave home without it. This is transforming consumer behaviour; smartphones have become an indispensable part of so many of our daily lives. Mobile search, video, app usage and social networking are prolific and growing.
Photo Credit: Our Mobile Planet: UK by Google.
According to Google, a clear majority of people say they prefer a mobile friendly website. When businesses get their mobile sites right people actively seek them out and are more likely to buy from them. Unfortunately, an even clearer majority of people (96%) are finding themselves disappointed; frustration levels are high. If customers have a bad mobile experience, most go elsewhere and even worse - will be unlikely to engage with the company on other channels either, taking it as a sign that a company does not care about their business.
Getting your mobile site right is crucial to developing a strong brand, customer loyalty and to your bottom line, getting it wrong helps your competitors.
Smartphone users are multi-tasking their media, using their phone while doing other things such as travelling, exercising, watching TV and even surfing the net on the desktop computers. As well as other calls on their attention, users are contending with small screens, fiddly functionality, slower connection speeds and data download restrictions. All this means that people want their mobile sites to deliver information and services to them cleanly, simply and quickly.
So what should you be thinking about when creating your mobile site? Here are 10 top tips:
1) A clean and efficient design enables your users to access key information and accomplish tasks both quickly and easily. Achieving this means spending time identifying your audiences, understanding what they need and streamlining your offering to meet their objectives. Don’t guess what your customers want to do, ask them and watch them.
2) Users want a mobile site to fit the small screen of their smartphone better. Most prefer to scroll up and down, rather than left and right. Ensure your mobile site has been tested on the main mobile screen sizes and browsers.
3) Smartphone users don’t tend to read content, they scan it just as they do when browsing in shops. The way to emulate that experience is to provide big images with only highly relevant text.
4) Mobile users really dislike form-filling, it is tricky to do and causes frustration. If forms are necessary on your site give serious thought to how to minimise the amount of user-input required.
5) A majority of your visitors will want to call or email you, so that means clickable points of contact.
6) Users say they want the ability to easily copy and save information from the site for future reference.
7) Smartphones are great for videos. If you can present your information via a video or other types of multimedia then offer it as an alternative to a page of text.
8) Search really comes into its own when browsing is fiddly and data-heavy; people want to be able to go straight to what they are looking for rather than get there via numerous pages that each cost time and money to download. Provide a search bar on every page and a good search engine to support it.
9) An awful lot of sites seem to forget that their users are not using a mouse, but fingers and thumbs. You've probably experienced the frustration of trying to click on a link only to be taken to somewhere you didn’t mean to go. Most users won’t stick around to retry - make sure your buttons and links are thumb-sized.
10) And finally, given the option people would prefer to install an app than go online; most are even prepared to pay for it. Consider asking your developer to create a great little app and have truly delighted customers!