June 19, 2014
By Paras Chopra
If it feels like everyone has got their heads down in their smartphones these days, it is because they do.
More than two-thirds of United States consumers now use smartphones, according to the latest Nielsen research. And, increasingly, more of those users are searching for something near them, whether it is a location, business hours or directions.
About half of those who conduct such local searches visit a store within the same day.
Yet incredibly, only about 9 percent of small business owners in the U.S. have mobile-optimized their Web sites, which Impact Research estimates is costing them $1 trillion in potential revenue annually.
And only 12 percent said they were going to actually follow up and optimize their sites in the near future, in spite of overwhelming evidence that it is a good idea to do so.
In case your company belongs in this category, here are five tips on how you can optimize your site for mobile.
Make everything bigger
Buttons, text, drop-down menus and other user interface elements need to be bigger on a mobile Web site or application to make it as easy as possible for people on mobile devices to take action.
Cut down on unnecessary content
Enlarging your user interface elements leaves less space for other content, so try to pare things down to the bare essentials.
Any content that does not take users from point A to B in one-step is non-essential.
Mobile users also do not have the patience or time to click around looking for something. So take a hard look at what you need and remove anything that does not contribute to that goal.
Focus on user needs
Do not assume that a mobile application or Web site and a desktop Web site serve the same purpose.
People using mobile phones are often at different steps of the buying cycle, or in different frames-of-mind altogether.
Make sure to spend time understanding how mobile customers are using your apps.
For example, are they conducting preliminary research on tablet? Searching for the nearest retail outlet via smartphone? Trying to buy directly from a mobile device?
Once you understand this you can design a mobile app or site that truly meets those needs.
Match mobile to corporate look
It seems simple enough, but many companies get bogged down by the constraints of a mobile screen and end up creating an app or mobile Web site that clashes with the look of their desktop Web site.
Visual and brand inconsistency confuses the consumer, so make sure to match mobile and desktop to one another and to the brand’s established style guidelines.
Let them switch between mobile and desktop
Most developers assume that users on a mobile device will only want a mobile Web site. That is not always true, and many users prefer going back to the familiar layout of the desktop Web site that they had seen on their computers.
Allowing visitors to easily switch between mobile and desktop versions gives them the control to choose their viewing experience and reduces frustration.
WITH NEARLY a trillion dollars on the line, there has never been a better time take a closer look at optimizing the mobile experience that your company offers.
Moreover, with the emergence of A/B testing platforms that offer code-free mobile optimization, it has never been easier to make the plunge.
Paras Chopra is founder/CEO of Visual Website Optimizer by Wingify, Delhi, India. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.