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Five Tips for Optimizing Users' Mobile Experience

With mobile emerging as a major way to view web content, businesses everywhere must invest resources in creating optimal mobile sites. They may choose to make a single responsive site or to build a separate mobile version, but either way: Mobile affects the bottom line.

To build a good mobile experience, you must have a deep understanding of the users who visit (or would visit) your site on their mobile device. Desktop users have different goals from mobile users, and you have to keep these differences in mind as you create (or improve on) your mobile optimization strategy.

Trending in Many Sectors

Mobile Internet traffic is skyrocketing. There are 4.2 exabytes of global mobile data traffic per month, and that number is projected to reach 24.3 exabytes per month by 2019 (Statista). New SEO algorithms also consider site responsiveness and mobile-readiness when hierarchizing search results.

Companies are leveraging mobile web for both customer retention and acquisition, and customers are using mobile web in many sectors. In banking, for example, users are now turning to mobile for essential tasks, such as paying bills, making deposits, and checking balances. In brokerage, people are using mobile to monitor the market, make trades, and manage their portfolios. In insurance, customers depend on mobile to file claims, obtain quotes, and even request roadside assistance.

It’s clear now is the time to ensure your customers have the best mobile experience they can. Below I’ll walk you through the two main choices you’ll have to make before you dive into mobile optimization, plus my five tips for making a good-looking mobile site.

Two Decisions: Approach and Content

When thinking about your mobile site, you have a couple choices when it comes to optimization. The first is this: Will you make your one company website responsive, or will you make a whole new version of the site for mobile users? A responsive site uses web design and code that changes the site experience for visitors depending on user factors like device browser, and screen resolution.

Your second decision involves the content of your site. Should users who access your site from their mobile device have access to the same features as desktop users? You’ll have to audit the elements of your desktop site to determine if and how they should be included on your mobile site.

Elevating, Removing, and Optimizing

No matter how you settle the above two choices, optimizing experiences for mobile users depends on simplicity and functionality. Focus on making a mobile experience that is as simple and functional as possible. The best way to bring these two descriptors to life is to identify mobile users’ goals and to follow best visual practices for mobile web.

Put yourself in mobile users’ shoes by asking the right questions. Why do mobile users come to your site? Is it to learn enough information about your business to come back later on desktop? Why do desktop users visit? Is it because they’re returning customers looking to complete certain actions? Persona work may help you distinguish mobile users from desktop users in terms of their requirements, goals, and interests.

Next, consider the steps you can take to boost the visual appeal of your site for mobile users. I’ve compiled five tips to help as you plan your mobile site’s aesthetics.

  1. Elevate the prominence of primary text—key information, images, and CTAs—by moving them to the top of the page.
  2. Either remove or demote secondary content, or content that isn’t important to the majority of your mobile users’ goals. Non-essential content can be put in hidden menus or placed further down the page if you don’t want to remove it entirely.
  3. Make your CTAs large and easy to read.
  4. Cut down on blocks of text. Paragraphs may not seem like “blocks” when they’re viewed on a desktop, but they overwhelm mobile users due to their smaller screens. You may have to rewrite content so it can be presented in a more straightforward way.
  5. Optimize your assets to keep load time to a minimum. According to Kissmetrics, most users abandon a mobile site if it doesn’t load between 6 and 10 seconds. Improve load speed by cutting down on your code size and embedded media.

Think about what users are trying to accomplish on your mobile site and optimize for those tasks. If you choose to build a responsive site, remember that future optimization testing must account for every device, browser, and segment related to it. If you build an optimized mobile-friendly site, focus on removing secondary content, emphasizing CTAs, and optimizing load speed.

At the end of the day, as long as you factor the rise of mobile web into your optimization efforts, your business’s website is on the right track.

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