In the age of the internet but before the advent of smartphones, it was very rare to find websites that were optimised for mobile devices, and for a good reason too. Traditional mobile devices lacked the technology to view websites as intended, and mobile screen sizes rendered reading website content – much less purchasing products and services – practically impossible, hence the popularity of the desktop and laptop for general web-surfing and e-commerce activities.
However, thanks to technological advancement, smartphones developed in recent years offer an amazing viewing experience for the mobile user, catalysing a rise in the number of mobile websites. Of course, desktops and laptops are still very much alive today, effectively complementing the use of mobile devices for web-surfing activities. Consequently, marketers must realise that a desktop or laptop user can also be a mobile user – often in the same day too – and design websites that provide a seamless experience across devices.
Consider your end user
Mobile optimisation ensures that mobile users have access to a mobile website when accessing webpages from their mobile devices. When creating a mobile website, keep in mind that mobile users would want the layout to be simple yet effective, allowing them to obtain the information that they need in the shortest possible time frame. Therefore, start by determining the key pieces of content to include, keeping in mind that screen space is at a premium.
Save the lengthy explanations about your business for the full site: keep descriptions short and concise, provide only essential, most-searched-for information such as contact numbers and location details, and ensure that key links are displayed prominently. If you are running an e-commerce site, minimise the steps involved for purchases and keep product images clear yet compact to ensure that webpages don’t take too long to load.
The idea is to smoothen the buyer’s journey instead if impeding it. You might also want to keep the number of ads on your website in check – according to a 2016 survey by software developer and marketer HubSpot, 70% of respondents dislike mobile ads!
Design a pleasing and responsive layout
A mobile website that appeals to mobile users generally has a simple (read: not confusing!) layout. And by that, it means that mobile websites should have a clear structure, a streamlined and intuitive layout, no clutter and minimal options. Use dropdown menus, checklists and pre-populated fields where possible, and check regularly to ensure that they remain responsive and link to the right webpages. This helps to minimise the challenges faced when inputting text into a smartphone. Also refrain from cramming in too much information on the mobile website, which might lead to a cluttered look.
Take advantage of white space for a cleaner, leaner and polished appearance – it also allows mobile users to find the buttons they are looking for with ease. This is especially true for e-commerce mobile websites, which usually receive high traffic and lots of on-site activity. E-commerce resource Internet Retailer found that in 2015, mobile commerce made up 30% of all US e-commerce activity, giving you plenty of reason to ensure a pleasant user experience for mobile users.
Also remember that webpages are usually slower to load on mobile websites compared to traditional webpages, so it would be helpful to minimise the number of pages on the site. This is because most people would rather not click several pages deep into a mobile website to obtain information, preferring it to be easily accessible at a glance, if possible.
Retain the same branding elements on both sites
Take beauty retailer Sephora, for instance. Both its full site and mobile website feature the same black-and-white colour scheme, and use the colour red to highlight important links and draw attention to their latest promotions and sale items. The use of just three main colours ensures that the mobile website remains pleasing to the eye. Meanwhile, the name of their brand is prominently displayed on the central part of the webpage. This helps viewers identify the brand, and assures them that they’ve come to the right website.
A mobile website is a supplementary touchpoint for your brand and as such, should mirror and strengthen your brand presence. For your long-time customers, a similar-looking mobile website gives them a sense of familiarity and a feeling of being ‘home’, which is a great reward for your loyal customers. Above page speed and website design and structure, mobile optimisation deeply considers the satisfaction of mobile users, knowing that if users find navigating a site uncomfortable, they will not hesitate to look for other mobile websites that prioritise user-friendliness.
Keep distractions to a minimum
Nobody likes being bombarded with a barrage of online advertisements when web surfing. Well, guess what? This applies to mobile users as well! In a 2016 survey, software developer and marketer HubSpot found that 73% of people dislike pop-up ads, while 64% of ad blocker users do so because they found ads to be annoying and intrusive. If you really must have ads on your mobile website, placing the ads in a prominent corner that is easily noticeable may be more respectful to your visitors than having the ads pop up in their faces. It might interest you to know that in 2015, 419 million people worldwide installed an ad blocker on their smartphones, so that’s surely some food for thought!
Pop-up windows themselves are a source of much consternation among mobile users as well. It’s exhausting – not to mention confusing! – to navigate across multiple tabs and browser windows when looking for a particular piece of information using a mobile device. It doesn’t help as well that pop-ups cause pages to load at a slower pace. It’s much better to give them an option of whether to open a new window or just navigate to the next page in the same view, and also provide them with a link or button that they can click to return to the original page they were viewing.
- Provide an option to visit the full site
Most people who surf the internet on their mobile devices are usually on the go and will want to access only pertinent information, which would already be available on your mobile website. However, on the off chance that mobile users want to also obtain information that is not available on your mobile website, it’s important to give them the option of viewing the full site.
Having done a fantastic job on your mobile website, don’t neglect to also include a link that brings your visitors to the full site. It would be helpful to place this link on every single webpage on your mobile website, as this gives visitors peace-of-mind, knowing that they have an option. In general, just remember to keep the user’s needs in mind while staying true to your brand – mobile optimisation is really quite simple!
A website is super crucial to your company and it’s going to be even better once it’s optimised for mobile users as well. We assure you that these tips will definitely help you create converting users to ensure the exponential growth of your company! Head on over to ThunderQuote to find all the help you need today!
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