The No-Nonsense Guide to Designing Your Website for the Mobile Experience
It’s official: You can no longer put off making a mobile version of your website.
Mobile usage is on the rise, and the way mobile users interact with your website is different from the way desktop users interact. Moreover, due to the differences in screen size, the way your website looks will be different.
If you’re starting from scratch, there’s work to be done. Fortunately, we’re here to make your life a lot easier with our no-nonsense guide to designing your website for the mobile experience.
Prioritize the User Experience
First and foremost, you need to nail the user experience. If the user experience is poor, the user will assume you don’t care about them, and they’ll bail out.
Remember that the way a website looks on a mobile device will be different from the way it looks on desktop. This is primarily because the screen is smaller. As such, you need to make sure that your headlines are a bit shorter, and that your font is bigger and bolder. This will save the user from having to zoom in to see things.
Make sure that your website is easy to navigate for the user too, which means prominently displaying each page’s button. The last thing you want is for the user to get lost trying to get from one page to the next.
Test how your website looks on your mobile device first to make sure you haven’t missed anything. Ask a friend or team member to take a look at it, too. Test absolutely everything, from the way it looks to user actions.
Produce Mobile-Friendly Content
Mobile users are a bit pickier than their desktop counterparts when it comes to content. They’re typically on the hunt for specific information, they’re more impatient, and they want the whole process to be more efficient.
Not just this, but they expect your content to be presented differently.
It’s really important that you understand the motivations behind your mobile users, and what they expect from your content. It should be more direct and to-the-point, it needs to be informative and usable, and it should be as concise as possible.
This isn’t to say that you need to create lots of new content from scratch. In fact, you just need to make adjustments to your already existing content and possibly tweak your keywords. You might want to modify your metadata, too. Research on your part will be needed for all this.
Use a Responsive Framework
Ever visited the mobile version of a website where things just didn’t look right? The images were over-sized and the text was all over the place. It’s most likely because the webmaster hadn’t employed a responsive framework.
A responsive framework uses HTML to resize, shrink, hide and enlarge your website automatically. The purpose? So that it looks awesome on both desktop and mobile, and across all devices.
Because it’s done automatically, there’s very little work involved on your part. Your images are scaled so that they fit on mobile screens, as is the text. As a result, a seamless mobile user experience is in order.
Bootstrap is one example of a mobile-first framework that will make your life – and your site visitors’ life – a lot easier.
There’s a strong chance you’ll be adding video content to your website. After all, a video is very good for engagement and can keep users on your page longer.
Adding videos to the mobile version of your website can be problematic, though. The way video content is viewed on mobile is different from the way it’s viewed on desktop, and your videos might not always be responsive.
This is why it’s a good idea to embed YouTube videos, as the embed code is automatically responsive.
Increase Your Payment Options
It’s easy to add PayPal to your website and think that’s all you need to do. But research has shown that 56% of consumers expect numerous payment options.
The keyword here is ‘expect.’ While you don’t need to add every single payment method available, you need to cater to user expectations.
Because mobile users like to research online and buy offline, it’s a smart idea to add a POS card reader to your website. Not only does this make the payment process simpler (thus boosting conversions in the meantime), it also allows you to collect data on your customers.
Keep Things Simple
Design-wise, you should be mindful not to go overboard. As mentioned, mobile users are generally in a bit of a hurry and they don’t want distractions. They’re also more likely to bail out if your website takes too long to load.
As such, it’s good practice to keep things simple. This means fewer images, a simple and clear site design, and a simple theme. The aim should be to keep eyeballs on the content you really want them to pay attention to.
Using a good WordPress hosting provider will ensure fast page speed and decrease your bounce rate.
You will need to A/B test your landing pages to make sure that you’re getting the best results possible. This means testing different elements of your pages, from your images to your call to action button, to see what works best.
For example, the headline that’s served you so well on a desktop browser will need to be tweaked for the mobile version of your website. There are two reasons for this: One, the mobile screen is smaller, and as such your headline needs to be shortened. Two, mobile users behave differently, and have different motivations, needs and wants.
You should also split test the form layout of your lead generation form.
Put these tips into practice to prime your website for the mobile experience. Then, run it through Google’s mobile-friendly test and keep tweaking until you’re satisfied. Once you’ve put in the initial effort, you’ll be able to relax a bit. From there, just keep producing top-notch content and make sure it’s modified for a mobile audience.
**About the Author: Michelle Deery is an online marketing enthusiast and a freelance copywriter for Heroic Search. Her content has been featured in Entrepreneur. You can find her @MichWriting.