As US mobile payments are set to reach $1 billion by the end of 2013 and blow past $58 billion by 2017, and US baby boomers and seniors on the mobile web will hit 28.8 million by the end of 2013, the importance of having a good mobile web presence becomes critical.
Having a mobile presence is essential to increase your business with people that are not only visiting the Internet using their Smartphones and tablets but are also using online payment options through those same devices.
If you are thinking, “I already have a website! No need to do anything.”, then I have some news for you.
Not optimizing your site for the mobile web is a mistake.
Forcing your users to deal with subpar mobile sites is not just bad web design, it is bad customer service. I am going to walk you through a list of 4 mobile web design best practices and show you how they will also improve your customer service on the mobile web.
Ready? Here we go.
1. Your mobile site must load up quickly.
When your customers show up in person to your store or office, would you or your employees take more than a moment to acknowledge them, approach them or offer them assistance? Probably not- and if you did that would be terrible customer service!
And yet, that’s exactly what you are doing on the mobile Internet, when your site takes minutes to load up. Images and text that load up agonizingly slow or sometimes not even loading up at all will cause your potential customer to bounce- aka- leave your site within seconds.
While desktops Internet users way wait 4 to 20 seconds for a page to load, on the mobile web every millisecond counts. Think about it, people using Smartphones are on the go, literally walking and browsing. Harry Shun, a computer scientist and speed specialist at Microsoft, determined through his research that a site needs to load 250 milliseconds faster than a close competitor for users to stay.
Don’t leave your customers hanging!
2. Your mobile site doesn’t have to include every single page that your full site offers.
Imagine that you own a flower shop. A gentleman walks into your shop, says that he is in a hurry and that he needs a dozen red roses. This customer has stated very clearly what he wants, so it would be very poor customer service to waste his time by starting to go through your whole selection of flowers available. He is not interested in your gardenias, tulips, orchids, white roses, and pink roses. Great customer service would be to make it very easy to complete his purchase of a dozen red roses.
Still, we do quite the opposite on our mobile sites. Trying to cram every single page of your full-site into the mobile version prevents mobile users from easily completing their tasks. Some mobile sites are even making it very difficult for mobile shoppers to complete transactions online. We have to remember that mobile web browsing is different from desktop or laptop web browsing because of the size of the screen and the smaller window of time.
The web design strategy of your mobile site needs to be different from that of your desktop site. Put yourself in the shoes of your mobile customers and make their lives easier.
3. Your mobile site must be short on text.
Imagine that you are a fashionista and have a great eye for design. Ladies wanting to borrow your design ideas drive in hordes to your shop and ask you for advice. Curiously, your store has NO clothes at all. Instead it has one picture of an outfit and 3, 4, or even 5 pages of text describing the piece in detail. In font size 8. In Comic Sans font type.
Do you think those customers would stick around, do business with you or even come back to your shop? Did you answer no? You got it! And the very same applies to mobile web design.
Studies show that in a best-case scenario, we only read 28% of the text on a web page. That percentage drops when dealing with a 3.2” to 4” screen size?
Do your mobile customers a favor by backing off on the text and offering more quality photographs and images. (That load up fast, of course.)
4. Your mobile site must be ready for ANY device.
Lastly, imagine that you own a hotel. Your concierge is great with answering questions from anybody that approaches the front desk in person. He is ready to help them, no matter what. However, this concierge hates ANY kind of technology. Whenever a guest tries to reach him by phone, email, fax or social media, he completely ignores those requests.
Yet, this is one of the most common customer service offenses of mobile sites. Some mobile sites are unwilling to talk with certain kinds of mobile visitors.
Consider these scenarios:
- If your site uses Flash, iPhone and iPad users won’t be able to see those fancy animations.
- If your site requires specialized plugins to be downloaded to the browser before functioning, then most likely no mobile user will know what to do.
- If your site is hardcoded into a very large screen width, most mobile users will have to play a game of scroll-and-peck to navigate the site.
If your site is guilty of the many examples of poor customer service listed above- never fear! You can fix this through responsive design. Instead of addressing your desktop and your mobile sites as different projects, you establish a single web design strategy that addresses all devices at once. Through the use of fluid grids, flexible images, CSS and other design tools, a responsive site effectively adapts to any screen resolution and any device.
Good Mobile Web Design = Good Customer Service
I hope you find these 4 mobile web design best practices useful and that you incorporate them into your sites in order to provide better customer service to your mobile web visitors.
If you want to find out more about how to optimize your site for the mobile web, click or call Seattle SEO Consultant at (888) 574-6067 for your free, no obligation 30 minute consultation today. We look forward to learning about your business and seeing how we can help you. Let’s do this!