With the internet literally at our fingertips as more people access it from almost any device including smartphones and tablets, websites should be carefully designed to help users get the best online experience.
There are several factors to think about when designing and developing websites, including the usersâ€™ technical ability, navigation, user interaction, speed that a webpage loads, how the content translates or communicates a message or information to the end user etc.
It is highly likely that the person accessing a mobile website is out and about or on the go and their online experience will be very different from users accessing a standard website from a desktop or laptop computer. The mobile user will most likely need to get information quickly, in a readable format as they may be looking for specific information.
Here are some key tips to consider for mobile optimisation.
1. Content is Key
When thinking about content to include on a mobile website, it should be simple, clear and concise and basically, to the point. The user will stay if they can find what theyâ€™re looking for without having to sift through endless amounts of useless information.
Optimising your mobile website will really depend on what the user intends to do and in any case, your mobile website should show that it has the highest level of usability to create the best experience for the user. Whether the user is searching for contact information or making a purchase, the content should be easily accessible/usable.
2. Website Layout and Page Scaling
Website layout and page scaling is important and can help to determine whether a user stays on the webpage or leaves within the first few seconds. One of the many frustrations that users face is not being able to read content i.e. if text is cut off from the page and the zoom option does not support easy functionality, users will not return to the mobile website.
Additionally, the number of pages within a mobile website should be kept to a minimum to assist the speed that webpages load. Mobile websites should also be easy to navigate and if touch interaction is incorporated on your mobile site, consider the actions that a user might want to perform i.e. pinch, swipe, copy and paste, scroll etc. These touch features are especially important as many people are using touch screen devices, on-screen keyboards etc.
Remember that users are likely to remember bad experiences as well as good ones so give the user a great experience and they will come back.
3. Keep your Brand Consistent
People will generally feel more content if they can identify familiar elements of a standard website on a mobile site so creating a good brand consistency on your mobile site will give a user the experience that they are used to. Regular users of a standard website will be looking for things to be the same on a mobile site. This is not only limited to branding but also, navigation, interaction, performance etc, things that users can relate to according to their experience in using a standard site.
4. Reduce Text Entry
Consider using drop down menus or tick boxes rather than forcing the user to enter text wherever necessary. By doing this, you will make the site more user friendly as some people might lack the ability to type properly on devices with small screens like some smartphones. Also, some touch screens are very sensitive and therefore reducing text entry can help to eliminate mistakes.
5. Redirect a mobile user to the mobile site
When youâ€™re ready to launch your mobile site, setup a mobile redirect which will detect when a user is accessing thesite from a mobile device and redirect them to the mobile site. The mobile site will be optimised and ready for visitors but you should give users the option of returning to the standard site if they prefer.