There is no question that mobile devices have become a staple in everyday living across the globe. Now more than ever it is important that websites be optimized for mobile devices and provide a pleasant experience for users. Mobile optimization can increase sales, generate more traffic and boost customer engagement. It can give you an edge over the competition too. But how exactly can you make your mobile site more user friendly?
Reduce the amount of unnecessary content
Space is short and every pixel counts on a mobile web page, so not everything shown on a PC site can fit reasonably. With this in mind, it is essential to reduce the amount of content on the mobile-optimised version and only include the most important content or features. Mobile websites should be extremely focused in order to make them easier to read and move around, as well as quicker to load. Remove any content that is of low priority or surplus to requirements.
Reduce the need to enter text
When asked to enter text on a mobile device many people are put off and leave the site. It is a lot more difficult to enter text on a mobile device than it is on a PC or laptop. Users tend to make a lot more errors entering text on mobile devices. The need to enter text can be reduced by allowing users to store details, for example through a mobile checkout experience. This way they only have to enter the details once. Alternatively, you could offer users the opportunity to use a number pin instead of text.
Single column layouts
Most small phone screens struggle with wide web pages, even smart phones, and is results in pages being difficult to view. Text can be unreadable and users do not want to have to zoom in just to be able to read – it is less than ideal. By creating single column pages these issues can be eradicated. Additional content should expand downwards, instead of across, and as mentioned before unnecessary content should be removed.
Keep touch screen and non-touch screen users in mind
Modern smartphones are traditionally touchscreen, however occasionally a new design is unveiled with a trackball, joystick and keyboard (blame Blackberry!). Smartphones account for the majority of Internet usage in many countries, in particular the UK and the USA. The most common difficulty with viewing standard web pages on a smartphone is in selecting small text links accurately. Fingers tend to be too thick to hit a small link accurately and if there are 2 or more links close together then it can become a gamble as to which one you are going to tap. Links should be avoided as a means of a call to action. Instead calls to action should be designed to take up more screen space, like thick rows or square boxes, which are easily tap-able!
Present the navigation in a different way
The dilemma here is fitting the navigation across the top of the screen on a mobile web page without pushing the content too far down. To avoid this you could place the navigation and site search at the top of the homepage and save the content for other pages. Alternatively, you could place the navigation at the bottom, place the navigation in a drop-down link at the top of the page or only offer a ‘Back’ button on pages other than the homepage.