Most people are familiar with the ideas of commerce and e-commerce: commerce refers to the buying and selling of goods or services, and e-commerce refers to that same practice but conducted electronically via the use of the Internet. Because the digital age has made e-commerce one of the largest ways in which consumers make purchases, many companies have created websites for their businesses, with the intention of selling products online.
However, while businesses may consider the importance of e-commerce, they often forget about optimizing a website for mobile use. For all you need to know about mobile websites, here are some tips to refer to when creating and designing a mobile website:
Understand the Importance of Designing a Mobile Website
Before setting out on your quest to design your website, you should understand exactly why designing a website for mobile use is so important. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile capabilities, you could be losing valuable customers and sales. Well-designed mobile websites are huge traffic generators, and get better brand engagement and increased conversions than do their desktop counterparts.
According to one study conducted by Fast Company, customers spend much more money per purchase using cell phones and tablets than they do on desktops—50 percent more, to be accurate. Perhaps the reason for the increased amount of purchasing that occurs on mobile sites is the fact that mobile sites get more traffic than do traditional desktop sites, probably because mobile sites are more accessible, and can be reached from locations ranging from the bed to the bathroom.
But simply having a mobile site isn’t enough—your site has to be optimized and perfected for the user. If you can create a great mobile site, you’ll reduce your bounce rate (the rate of people who have to make the switch from mobile to desktop to accomplish a task), and increase your number of conversions (people who go from potential customers to customers).
Consider Your Audience
The first thing you should consider when designing a mobile website is who you’re constructing the website for. You probably have a unique customer base, and whether your products are designed for youth, for the elderly, for people with kids, for singles, for the wealthy, for the retired, for the athlete, for the eco-conscious, etc. will all affect how you should design your mobile site. You should also consider factors such as these: phone usage locations, the different types of mobile shoppers (social shoppers, deal lovers, comparison shoppers, etc.), and when people are most likely to mobile shop. You should formulate your goals for your mobile website based on your customer base’s needs and preferences, and should keep them in mind with whatever design techniques you use.
Keep Your Design Simple
A huge mistake that a lot of companies make when taking their site mobile is to create a design that’s just as complex as their online site. When designing mobile sites, user-friendliness is one of the most important aspects. As such, here are some tips to remember:
- Make sure crucial navigation elements are accessible;
- Don’t make your customers have to scroll sideways;
- Design your selection buttons for people with bad eyesight or large fingers (people shouldn’t have to zoom!);
- Put all your need-to-know information up front;
- Use buttons that define where a customer can click;
- Consider using drop down menus
- Add mobile-specific features, such as click-to-call buttons; and
- Keep text, colors, and overall layout minimal and easy on the eyes.
If you have too much text, colors that hurt the eyes, a layout that’s difficult to navigate, or hidden buttons or information that are frustrating to find, you’re going to overwhelm your customer. If you overwhelm the customers, one of two things will happen: they’ll stop looking at your product and become an instantaneous failed sale, or they’ll have to make a switch to a desktop computer, where their likelihood of making a purchase is much lower.
The Ideal Product Page
The product page refers to the page where your product is actually displayed. A great product page will incorporate all of the above tips, and utilize photos, descriptions, and calls to action.
Images: In the world of images for mobile sites, the phrase “bigger is better” rings true. Choose photos that are high-quality, fill up the majority of the space, and can be zoomed into with a finger tap. Remember that using images will increase load time for pages, so make sure that your images are optimized.
Descriptions: Equally as important as images are image descriptions, which provide the customer with a brief explanation of the product they’re looking at. You can provide viewable descriptions using boxes in a banner at the top of the page above the image. Therefore, if a person wants to read about your product, all they have to do is click the box that says, “Details.” Keep information in your product description organized, and consider using bulleted points.
Calls to Action: A call to action tells your customer what it is you want them to do, and may be the most important part of your entire mobile site. The call to action should always be up-front-and-center, easy to find and easy to click. Usually, calls to action are as simple as “Add to Cart,” or “Buy Now.” You’re welcome to get more creative with it, but make sure you keep it straightforward and obvious.
Perform a Test Run
Once you’ve designed the perfect mobile site, now’s the time to test it out. Let a bunch of different people explore your site on a mobile device, and record their feedback.
Is everything loading correctly? Are buttons clickable? Is content easy to find? Was the user able to accomplish the task?
If you get the green light on everything, congratulations! You’re ready to market your mobile app. If not, now’s the time to make any changes necessary.
Designing a mobile website is incredibly important for your business, and chances are your competitors have already done so. By keeping in mind the importance of a great mobile site, considering your audience, keeping the design simple, creating the ideal product page, and performing a series of test runs, you’re well on your way to attracting a new audience and converting them into long-term customers.