Breaking News: Those managing a company’s digital presence are tired of hearing about Mobile Optimization. By now we’ve all heard about “Mobile-pocalypse”, “Mobile-geddon”, “Mobile-nator 2: Judgment Day”. The sad truth about why you can’t avoid the subject is simple…it’s vitally important. Mobile searches have finally eclipsed desktop searches and the majority of content is consumed via a tablet or mobile device. This presents the challenge for website designers to effectively capture and satisfy a user across all devices. The browsing experience may differ significantly, but what follows are five of the essential elements to include when building or optimizing your website for mobile.
- Make sure the designated user action is visible across all versions of the site. If you’re converting to a phone call, it better be prominently placed above the fold on every device with click-to-call enabled. If you’re collecting data or even pushing users through to a sale through an initial form or account signup, there needs to be a call-to-action or the form itself visible. Even though scrolling has become a natural habit on mobile devices, it doesn’t guarantee everything above your desired user action is being properly absorbed. The efficient and safe play is to make sure your goals are prominently placed on the website across all devices.
- Smaller websites – make the menu, homepage and navigation as simple as possible. Larger websites – make site search visible. Smaller websites (professional services industries, branding websites, event sites, etc) should be getting their point across to users fairly quickly. Menus with few options and distinct categories will lend a better user experience than throwing 10+ navigation options at a site with 15 pages. Utilizing bread crumbs and an easily accessible home page will ensure the user doesn’t crave the back button and will feel at ease throughout their website experience. Larger sites (ecommerce, news, etc) should always have site search capability in view across all devices. Thanks to an endless supply of information everywhere online, by the time the user gets to your site, they know exactly what they’re looking for. They could either not have time for navigating through menus or categories or they just prefer not to. We live in a search-friendly world…adapt.
- Simplify your forms – I know, I know, the dreaded online form no one believes anyone is filling out anymore. Hear me out. Forms aren’t going away. We need them to verify addresses, payment information, membership eligibility, to subscribe and so on. A few tips on your forms: decide between toggle and dropdown. For a mobile experience, users are already tapping away, so it is probably better to give them that option via toggle and radio button options than to scroll through a dropdown and land on the correct choice. Also, implement fewer fields with prepopulated examples. Consumer confidence rises slightly knowing exactly where their name and information fits in the process. It sounds incredibly simple but correctly formatted lead generation can make a world of difference.
- No universally used website should be designed uniquely for desktop or mobile. Don’t build or design a site and leave it to development to have it shrink, stretch, consolidate to what they think it best. Every page and every item on said page should be drawn up across all devices to ensure consistency. Users shouldn’t be asked to zoom on mobile or strain their eyes on desktop. Before you start developing your website, the design should include mobile comps consistent with that beautiful desktop view your designer was so excited about.
Good luck and have fun! Building or optimizing for mobile might be an endeavor you’ve been dreading, but not only is it worth it, it’s basically required these days. And as always, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us here at Hook & Blade anytime.