By Charlie Cummins –

Google kicked off their 2016 series of Breakfast Briefings today on the topic of “Improving Mobile User Experience on the Web”. The presenter was Shane Cassells, who gave an insightful overview of what to look for to improve user engagement on mobile phones

Google Briefing Mobile User Experience

App or Website?

The question was posed as to which is better for mobile devices: an app or a website? The short answer was that if you can afford to do both, then do both. Just make sure that any app developed is amazing, as it has to compete with modern website designs, which can be very app-like themselves. However, if both are not affordable, then a mobile responsive website is the better option.

What Type of Responsiveness

In designing websites, developers have three choices to implement a mobile friendly site;

  • Responsive Design: uses the same URL and same HTML
  • Dynamic Design: uses the same URL, but different HTML
  • Separate Design: uses different URL and HTML

From Google’s point of view, the responsive design is best, as tracking, linking, clicks etc. etc., remain consistent across all platforms. And not inconsequentially, the responsive site is also less expensive for clients to build, design and maintain.

Make it Easy for the User.

The focus of the presentation was clearly on making the interaction with a mobile phone website as easy as possible for the user. He cited a number of examples for clients to consider when seeking to improve website engagement through smart phone users.

  • Make it “thumb friendly” – the tap targets should be big and well located on the screen for ease of use.
  • Give users what they want – don’t tell them about your 2,500 stores worldwide – all they care about is the store closest to them.
  • If you offer a site search function, don’t naturally assume the “magnifying glass” icon will suffice. For some this icon means it makes text etc. bigger – not search.
  • Obsess over load speed – the faster the site loads the better.

Check out your mobile site speed at this link:

Improve Conversion

For clients who offer e-commerce via their mobile site, a few suggestions to improve the rate of conversion are:

  • Free shipping/post & packing/delivery can often appeal more than a product discount (even if the value of the shipping is lower!)
  • Don’t surprise people with a shipping cost at the final checkout stage – make costs clear earlier in the shopping process.
  • Don’t minimise or hide your phone number on mobile. It’s being displayed on a phone – make use it.
  • If you need users to fill in data, ensue that the appropriate input keypad shows: the number key pad for numbers, the alpha key pad for text and, if an email address is needed, ensure the @ symbol is there to be clicked.
  • Keep the “add to cart” button screen at all times, even when user scrolls.
  • Use bespoke product information for each product in your CMS (for example: if you sell red shoes and also shoes in similar shades like burgundy, wine, crimson, scarlet, cherry etc. don’t class them all as “red”).

Finally – Measure it All

There is no point in investing time and resources into implementing all the above if you don’t analyse the results. Use your analytics data to look in detail at:

  • What product/category pages are generating high traffic?
  • What product/category pages are delivering the highest conversions?
  • How do traffic volumes and conversion rate correlate? Is any action indicated?