With more internet users now accessing the web via mobile devices compared to desktop computers, making sure your website is mobile-friendly is no longer an option. Most website owners already acknowledge this but struggle to make it a reality. The following practical tips can help make your site more appealing for mobile users.
1. Design with the Device in Mind
Mobile users don’t navigate websites in the same way as desktop users do. Before you do anything else, you have to view web browsing from the mobile user’s perspective. Mobile users tend to be more goal-oriented when they visit a site and are keen on quickly finding what it is they are looking for.
They do not want to spend time moving from one page to another on the site. The exact reason for this behavior is unclear. One hypothesis is that because of how difficult it was to navigate websites in the early days of the smartphone revolution, the apprehension for mobile browsing has lingered on among a wide section of mobile users.
Irrespective of the reason, your mobile site has to be simple and have a structure that makes it easy for users to find information. Buttons, links and form fields should be large enough for users to act on without having to zoom in.
2. Highlight Calls to Action
Building on the previous point, take a step back and evaluate what you want visitors to your website to do. Think about your calls to action (CTAs). Give mobile users the most direct route to your CTAs immediately upon landing on your site. Simplify your landing pages and eliminate ambiguity and verbosity in your sales funnel.
Effective messaging doesn’t have to be long-winded. Use bold letters for your “Subscribe”, “Buy Now” and “Get a Quote” buttons for ease of reading and clicking. You can use striking colors such as red and orange.
3. Shorten Forms
Nobody likes to fill forms. Filling forms is already hard enough to do on a desktop browser. It’s much worse when using a mobile phone. It’s not always possible to completely eliminate forms from your website. What you can do is to keep forms short especially for the mobile version of the site.
Go through your email newsletter opt-in form, new user registration form, contact us form, transaction checkout form and every other form on the site. Get rid of fields that you can do without.
4. Optimize Images (If You Must Use Them)
Smartphones have a much smaller screen than desktops and laptops. You should take this into consideration when using images on your site. Of course, images can save you the need to use paragraphs of text to make a point. However, images take longer to load than text.
On a mobile phone screen where a user only sees a limited part of the page, a slow-loading image can give the impression that your website is not responding. For best results, make sure your image sizes are optimized for mobile. You can use a real user monitoring tool to check how images impact user experience on each page of your site.
5. Add a Search Bar
Remodeling your website for mobile users may mean getting rid of certain non-essential menu options that are otherwise visible on a desktop browser. Nevertheless, some mobile users who visit your site will do so precisely because they want to explore these non-essential options. You can ease navigation for such users by adding a prominent search option.
That way, if they do not see what it is they are looking for on the menu options, the search bar can help them find it.
The world is decisively going mobile. It’s not hard to see why. Whereas the initial appeal of smartphones was how easy it was to carry them around, the drop in unit prices and the rise in processing power has made the average smartphone a de facto minicomputer. Making your site mobile-ready is therefore essential.