Last week we talked about why your website must be mobile friendly and the importance of offering a great online brand experience. Now that we’ve discussed the reasons why your business needs to adapt to the web and the various browsers we conduct our searches on, it’s time to provide you with advice on how to make your website mobile friendly and how to get the most ROI from your investment. Ready?
Creating a killer mobile website experience.
The first thing you need to know about creating a killer mobile website experience is that it’s all about the design. While I can hear the cries of thousands of web developers right now lamenting that code is the priority, the reality is that if you don’t think through the design of your mobile experience, no amount of great code can save your website. Ever.
When I talk about design, I’m not referring to the graphics. While images and photography are VERY important, I’m more concerned about the flow of the mobile design and how your target audience will use your website. You need to consider how a customer or a client will view your content or how they might interact with it. User Experience (UX) should always be a priority. Remember that you aren’t creating and building your website for you; you are doing it for them! If your only goal is to make yourself happy, then you’ve already lost the online business game.
One of the best examples I could ever provide is the Apple website. Attaching screenshots in this post would not do it any justice, so if you haven’t visited Apple.com, then I recommend you doing so — from your desktop, your iPad or tablet, and your mobile phone. The User Experience and web development team nails it. Every graphic, piece of content, and the way it all displays on your screen have been thought through in every detail. They give you what you need to see and read in a way that is easy and simple. Every interaction counts.
The Right User Experience
The best designers these days begin creating with end user in mind. They consider and understand the technology side and constraints, but they also apply proven design principles that increase conversions, readability, and engagement with the website. It’s a delicate balance between form and function or design and code. In short, there is a methodology or process that makes great websites great. In order to create a killer mobile website experience, you have to think like the best designers.
How Will My Visitor Use This Site? Delivering a mobile experience that your visitors will appreciate means that you have to think like them. You will have to ask yourself or your team some very difficult questions. Sometimes you will even have to kill a sacred cow like those rotating images or banner ads. But remember, this isn’t about you, it’s about them. If you want to increase sales or leads or newsletter sign ups, you have to make it easy for your audience. Here are some questions to help you in the process.
What is the ONE priority of your website? You must determine what your number one goal is once you get people to your website, regardless if it’s the desktop version or the mobile version. What is your main call to action?
What is the ONE main reason a person will visit your website? This is different from what you want them to do. A visitor may have a different reason for checking out your site and it’s important to do all that you can to uncover these reasons.
How do people read or interact with websites? In the past, business owners asked their “web masters” to sell everything about the business on the homepage, even when this meant extreme confusion or clutter. One thing to keep in mind is how do YOU interact with the websites you visit. Are they too busy or overwhelming? Does the flow of content make sense or is it confusing? Think through the entire process.
How much time will my visitors spend on my website? While we would love to believe that our visitors will stick around on our site and peruse our content, the reality is that most website visits last two minutes or less, depending on the content. Mobile visits are even shorter so you have to make your experience, your message, and your content count.
Do you need a separate mobile website or just a mobile responsive version of your desktop website? This is perhaps, the toughest question to answer. We will talk more about what mobile responsiveness means later, but there are two types of mobile websites.
- A true mobile website is a separate website that is designed specifically for this purpose. A great example is Warby Parker. They have the mobile website and a desktop website.
- A web responsive website is a website that uses code to display the desktop version properly for mobile browsers. The pages “adapt” for the browser and stack content for the smaller screen size. Examples would include 99u or StudioPress.
Both options work well, though a separate mobile site can offer your visitors a better experience and tailored content, using standard responsive website code may not. The caveat is that creating a separate mobile website means you are investing for two websites instead of one. If ROI doubles because of the mobile site, then it’s definitely worth doing it.
Think through the entire experience and then get to work.
Once you’ve thought through your user experience and what it is that you want to achieve in creating the killer mobile website, then it’s time to put the design and development into action. In part three of this series, I’m going to show you how design and development come together to make the ultimate mobile website and give you some tips on how to improve your conversion rate immediately. See you next week!