Do you want to know what makes a good mobile website?

We all know and we continue to hear again and again that mobile is the future of the web. There are now even recommendations that when developing your website the best method is begin with a mobile design and then scale it to desktop rather than vice versa. I agree with this to an extent. I believe mobile sites should behave differently from desktop sites but it shouldn’t matter which comes first because ultimately the look and feel should be pretty much similar.

In my research to find out what make a mobile websites stand out and whether making changes are worth doing, I came across this article based on a study conducted by Google and AnswerLab that shed light on the importance of a strategic and well thought out mobile website.

It’s well worth going though but I’ll point of the main gist of the article for you because I’m just nice like that!

So the findings of the study are broken down into 5 key areas;

  1. Home page and site navigation
    • These sections are most likely the first point of contact visitors will have with your website. It needs to get them to do one main task. Make that call to action visible and make it simple.
    • Keep your menus short, no one likes to scroll through too many options.
    • Make it easy to return to the homepage so make sure that logo or home button is visible and works.
    • Don’t let promotions and full page auto pop ups distract from the user experience.
  2. Site search
    • Ok, so I don’t believe every website needs a search button. If you only have a few pages of short text or images then I highly doubt people are looking to search for something. however, if you’re a retail, commerce, listings etc type of company selling or display a range of items and or information then make sure your search button is visible. Don’t hide it inside your mobile menu.
    • Secondly, make sure your results are relevant to what’s being searched for with helpful filters to narrow things down.
  3. Commerce and conversion
    • One great thing about Google Analytics is that it allows you to visually see how people use your website. Through an easy to read dashboard you can easily understand your customer journey thus allowing you to enhance the experience should you wish too. One thing not to do is asking too early for registration and sign ups via pop-ups. Though it’s important for your business, let customers register on their own terms. They’ll more often than not stay longer if they do.
    • If you sell items offer guest checkout. Some people don’t want to have to register first before making a purchase. I know I don’t.
    • Make it easy to complete a purchase on other devices. This is pretty useful. Provide options to share products via email or social media so customers can resume making a purchase on a desktop.
  4. Form Entry
    • I won’t go into his very much but the main gist is to collect only what’s necessary to provide a quick seamless working form that converts.
    • Try to auto fill where possible, show dates in a visual calendar and label sections clearly.
  5. Usability and form factor
    • This is most important during the development of your website as implementing most of these to an existing site would be timely and costly. The basic premise is making your website responsive so it changes based on the size of your user’s device.
    • Ensuring users do not need to pinch to zoom.
    • Make product images expandable so that customers can view the product in high res.
    • Keep users on one window. Try to avoid providing links that open up new windows.
    • Avoid having a “full site” label – this shocked me too.

This was only a brief summary of the full findings and you can read the full article below. Let me know whether it helped you in any way or if you have other suggestions on what makes a good mobile website