Google conducted a study to explore user behavior on mobile sites – and the results revealed that more than sixty percent of people online make purchase decisions more quickly now than they ever have before. If your mobile site is clumsy, cumbersome, or just plain slow, thirty percent of users will switch to another site right away. Whether your site is suffering from pokey load times, a confusing layout, or general clutter, it’s time to upgrade – and that doesn’t mean you’ll need to break the bank. To really shine in today’s hyper-mobile economy, it’s critical to hone your mobile site to accommodate today’s on-the-go users.
Strategies For An Effective Homepage
Visitors begin their journey on your homepage – and there’s no time to waste. Make targeted calls to action super visible to users, and keep language specific. Vague word choices, like a suggestion to “Learn More,” will only discourage people. It pays to ensure that it’s easy for someone to access the homepage from wherever they are on the site, and most expect to be delivered “home” by clicking your logo on the top of your mobile page.
Keep an Eye on Navigation
It’s imperative that people are able to move through a mobile site with ease – so don’t skimp on effective, streamlined navigation. Keep menus concise, so they won’t need to scroll through an endless list of options to find what they’re looking for. Without sacrificing usability, consider how you can consolidate menu items.
For effective navigation, people should also be able to search intuitively. Keep the search field prominent and easy to find – don’t conceal it from your users in a menu. Make sure site search results are valuable and relevant by auto-completing queries, suggesting related terms, and auto-correcting spelling errors. Products like Google Custom Search can make it easy to enable effective searching – without forcing you to waste precious time reinventing the wheel.
Finally, you can truly empower your site’s search capabilities by installing filters, which help folks to narrow down large quantities of results. Keep in mind that filters generally work best when placed above search results.
For Best Results, Don't Be Pushy
Don’t ask people to register as soon as they enter your website – this is a major turnoff, according to the Google research team. Customer information may help to fuel your business – but it should never come at the cost of a disgruntled user. Allow them to browse your entire site without needing to sign in, and avoid placing registration prompts too early in the their browsing experience.
Promotions: Use Caution
Today’s mobile users aren’t fooled by flashy promotions, so use extreme caution as you embed any promos onto your site. Prompting people to download apps, for example, will annoy your visitors – and might even cause a drop in your search rankings, too. If you must incorporate promotions, make sure they’re easy to dismiss.
Boost Usability Step by Step
It pays to spend time thinking about the visitors experience, start to finish. Begin by embedding auto-fill capabilities, which makes it easier for them to complete forms. Be sure your site is optimized for mobile, making use of a responsive layout that changes based on the size and capabilities of their specific device. It’s easy for people to scroll, but avoid forcing them to “pinch-to-zoom,” a tactic that makes it harder for people to read content and interact with your site.
You should, however, make sure that product images are expandable. Featuring high-resolution close-ups of products is a practical way to showcase your goods – and your visitors will be more confident about purchasing, too.
Try and avoid forcing people to jump from one browser window to another. The best mobile sites never launch into new windows, so if you’re offering coupons or promos, be sure to keep them on your site. And finally, if you’re asking for personal information, make it clear why you need that data. For example, if you’re requesting a location, just explain why! In today’s increasingly complex world, people are becoming more aware of the potential for security breaches, and they’re growing more protective about their personal information, too. If you need a location to help someone find a store near them, make that clear!
Boosting the Mobile Experience: The Bottom Line
As you tweak and hone your website, remember to keep the your target audience at the forefront of your process. Take the time to ask yourself what you would prefer if you were navigating the site: A more straightforward menu bar, perhaps – or easier and more intuitive search capabilities? Viewing your site as if you were the user makes it easy to pinpoint website elements that hold the potential to confuse or discourage. Visit mobile sites you admire for clues about how to boost the experience – and remember that even small changes can make all the difference! In today’s hyper-mobile realm, you simply can’t afford not to optimize.