We are living in a Post-PC world. Building websites is harder than ever because not only do we have to think about multiple platforms and browsers, we now have to think about how it will display on multiple devices from desktop to iPhone to Android to tablet.
Does that businesswoman’s statement describe you too? How much time per day do you spend on your smartphone or tablet?
The world is going mobile. For people in developing countries, it may be the only form of internet access they have. In most of the developed world, it’s their means of staying connected and finding out information 24-7 (or at least 17-7; you have to sleep sometime).
What kind of experience are all these mobile users having when they come to your site? Can they find what they’re looking for quickly and easily? Or is it a “shrink, shrink, scroll over, scroll down, scroll over, shrink” experience?
Having a smooth mobile experience is especially important for the following sites:
This is likely the top category of mobile searches. You’re out and about and you have a craving for Italian food. Where’s the best place in your area? You look for it on mobile. If one Italian place has a site where it’s easy to see the menu and how to get there, and on the other place’s site you’re pushing and scrolling for three minutes just to figure out where the place is located – which restaurant stands a better chance?
If you don’t get them, you lose them.
Any type of site where people skim headlines and articles as they’re commuting, waiting for their partners to finish shopping, waiting to pick up their kids at school or an after-school activity… A site that requires in-depth reading and analysis will much more likely be viewed on a desktop. But if you have a light-reading, browseable site, there’s a good chance people may be trying to visit it on mobile.
Mobile searchers tend towards informational and navigational queries and activities, shares Rand Fishkin. They’re looking to find out information – where, what, when and how. They’re not usually looking to make a purchase or commitment right now. BUT – if you want them to come back later on a desktop and make that transaction, you better impress them when they first find you on mobile. Give them a positive, memorable experience; give them the right information clearly and easily. They’ll be back.
Choose the right type of mobile design for you:
You can get an idea of which method might work the best for you by checking your analytics to see what pages are most viewed by mobile visitors. Is there an obvious trend in the most viewed pages? Or are mobile visitors all over the place on your site?
Whichever method you choose, make sure your pages are light, load fast, and don’t have annoying pop-ups or overlays that are hard to close on a mobile device. If a visitor spends a minute trying to X out of your pop-up, they might just hit the back button. Bye-bye.
Mobile is ballooning. Even if you don’t feel the need for a mobile responsive site yet, don’t close your eyes to mobile. Keep your finger on the pulse of your traffic – so you don’t miss the mobile opportunity. And if mobile is where it’s at for your industry, jump on the bandwagon before it leaves you in the dust.
”Responsive web design” is a fashionable term right now. Many are using it without giving much thought to what it means. By definition, it’s more of a philosophy than a buzzword. It’s a fancy way of saying, “User-friendly web design across multiple devices.” (Haven’t trademarked that, but perhaps I should.)
Thinking Outside the Screen
In a recent study by Google, “The New Multi-screen World: Understanding Cross-Platform Consumer Behavior,” research showed that 90% of people move between devices to accomplish a goal, whether that’s on smartphones, PCs, tablets or TV. Google’s study set out to learn not just how much of our media consumption happens on screens, but also how consumers use these multiple devices together, and what that means for the way that businesses connect with consumers. Below is an infographic from Google’s study.
Google found that nine out of ten people use multiple screens sequentially and that smartphones are by far the most common starting point for sequential activity. So completing a task like booking a flight online or managing personal finances doesn’t just happen in one sitting on one device. In fact, 98% of sequential screeners move between devices in the same day to complete a task.
So what does this all mean for businesses? It’s important to understand both the sequential and simultaneous multi-screening habits of your users. Sequential screeners will start interacting with you on one device and then pick up where they left off on another, so making experiences seamless between devices is crucial.