It’s never too soon to start thinking about your New Year’s Resolutions. And, if you are looking back on your Cyber Week website performance and noticing a correlation between high bounce rates and mobile users, we suggest putting “Improve Mobile Performance” on top of that list.
Delivering a good user experience via mobile is no longer a nice to have. It’s essential for businesses that want to be able to compete.
In case you aren’t convinced, here’s why you should improve mobile UX and steps you can take to get started.
Why A Good Mobile UX is Important
Good Mobile Experience = Good Customer Experience
There is evidence that mobile users tend to be more engaged, spend more, and shop more often. This also means that the stakes are higher. If your website doesn’t perform well or deliver a good UX, there is a high change your potential customers will bounce, abandon their shopping cart or turn to a competitor. In fact, 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing and 40% visit a competitor’s site instead.
These are lost leads, and in a crowded marketplace, conversions are of the utmost importance.
Mobile Usability Matters for SEO
As more users turn to smartphones and tablets as their exclusive means of browsing the Internet, shopping, and consuming media, search engines are following suit with their rankings. We have written before about how good website performance and SEO go hand-in-hand. This is true for digital experiences on both mobile and desktop.
Between 50-60% of people who search with Google are doing so on mobile devices. In an effort to make search results more impactful to users, Google recently announced a “mobile first” indexing system. This is one aspect of a broader trend emphasizing the importance of mobile features and functionality.
Get Started Improving Your Mobile Experience
Get familiar with your KPIs and trends
Before we dive into how to improve your mobile experience, it’s important to understand what issues your users are facing. In general, users who access a site optimized for desktop computers via their mobile device will run into issues such as:
- Slower response times: Desktop sites tend to be larger in size than mobile sites. This, combined with the fact that most mobile devices run on slower networks, results in longer page load times. Many users are impatient. If a page takes too long to load, they will navigate elsewhere. If your site takes even four seconds to load, you will have lost 25% of your viewers.
- Difficulty in using and viewing the site: Displaying a large site on a small screen can result in the whole page being shrunken significantly. In order for the user to view all of your content, they have to zoom/pinch and scroll sideways, which frustrates many users.
Before you identify what areas of your own site to improve, you should also look into what performance issues might be facing your users specifically. Are you seeing trends in shopping cart abandonment? Perhaps your checkout process is clunky via mobile. A high bounce rate? It could be due to ad modals or third parties pushing out your load time. Assessing your own performance issues can help you identify what areas of your mobile UX to tackle first.
Where to start
Implementing a site optimized for mobile audiences should improve web performance. In addition to your site being easy to use on smaller screens, the simplicity of your page should also improve load times.
Embrace Responsive Design
If you have done some research into how to improve your mobile website, you’ve probably read about the importance of responsive design for SEO. Google recommends mobile-first responsive design (as opposed to mobile adaptive design) as the best practice, since it prefers to index one site over many. Additionally, serving your site from a single domain builds brand loyalty (which is not the case with dynamic servicing) and eliminates the lag time due to redirection (which occurs when using mobile templates).
With a responsive design your server delivers the same set of HTML code on the same URL regardless of the user’s device type (desktop, tablet, mobile, and so on). However, the site will render differently depending on the device’s screen size. The design of your site may change based off the device a visitor is using. This is done using changes to your CSS, especially with media queries, which are conditional statements that indicate to the browser which sections of your CSS apply with which size viewports.
Design for Mobile Audiences
Despite the growing size of mobile devices and increases in screen resolution, these devices do not compare to laptops and desktops in terms of display size and quality. As such, mobile-friendly pages are typically simpler and have fewer features than their larger counterparts.
Rather squeezing all of the content on your desktop site onto your mobile site, customize what you display to your mobile users. There may be instances where you can’t include absolutely every piece of information, but consider the essentials. For example, if your user can sign up and perform a particular action on your desktop site, the user should be able to do the same thing with your mobile site.
Additionally, take care to implement features specific to improving the mobile user’s experience. Consider using buttons and links large enough for the user to click on without accidentally tapping something else. Create forms that are easy to use with small keyboards, and fonts large enough to be readable for all viewport sizes.
Improve Your Page Load Speed
Mobile devices typically run on slower networks, so speed is of the essence. Some ways to improve your site’s load times include:
- Reducing the number of HTTP requests required. While mobile users tend to behave as they would on a laptop/desktop, their mobile devices and networks typically cannot handle the same volume of work. As such, you should attempt to reduce the number of HTTP requests required for your site. Reducing the number of requests will provide the requisite amount of information for your user to accomplish his or her goal.
- Optimizing the images you use. Try to avoid the temptation to increase the size and number of images you display. Bandwidth is still limited for many users, so you should compress and provide the smallest images possible.
Optimize for Mobile Networks
Over half of all eCommerce traffic is on mobile devices. According to Google’s analysis of over 10,000 mobile web domains, the average load time for mobile sites is 19 seconds over 3G connections. But, what if you are testing load times using a LTE connection? You’re going to have different results. By understanding your users connections, you can take steps to optimize for their circumstances.
With today’s ever-connected user base, your website must deliver a good digital experience, no matter the device. Doing so is no longer optional like it once was. If you’d like to prioritize your mobile experience next year, get in touch. We’d love to share with you how we can help.
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