Going mobile does not end with choosing a responsive web design. 2018 is the year when you have to step up your mobile optimization game, because even if you don’t, Google is still going to judge you by whatever mobile experience your website is currently offering. A poor showing means your overall performance on the search engine will take a severe beating, and you’ll be left wishing you had taken the necessary steps to optimize for mobile at a much earlier date.
In a previous blog, I talked about the grassroots tasks you have to perform to jumpstart your SEO mobile strategy.
In this blog, I will focus on UX – and how you can remove as many browsing obstacles as possible to give your users an enjoyable mobile experience:
# 1: Separate The Clickable Elements
Users make a lot more mistakes while typing on a smartphone than they do on a desktop. And their fingers are not always accurate when they use the touch screen either. To make navigability smooth, keep plenty of space between clickable elements to avoid unnecessary user frustration with your site.
# 2: Make Sub Menus Accessible
Non-clickable sub menus are another source of frustration. Avoid sending users to the homepage because your sub menu is not clickable.
# 3: Empower The Search Box
Focusing on top priority pages is essential for the mobile experience because you don’t want to clutter up the screen with too many links to secondary information. To this end, the search box can act as an effective conduit to take users wherever they want to go.
# 4: Simplify Icons
If you’re using icons instead of text to convey information to users, make sure that they are easily identifiable. Stylized icons may look great but they fail their function if users have to guess what they mean instead of knowing intuitively.
# 5: Make The CTA Prominent
A good interface will marry user intent and site-owner’s intent in the same CTA (Call-To-Action) button. Embolden your CTA buttons, so visitors don’t have to look for it if they want to take further action on the information you have already provided.
# 6: Use Interstitials With Caution
Google has clearly expressed its displeasure with interstitials (pop-ups) in 2017. But though there is no doubt that interruptive pop-ups are a major hazard when trying to create a stellar user experience, websites keep doing them. (How many times have you bounced off an annoying site that displays an insistent pop-up within 2-5 second of your being on it?)
Read our blog “Pop Goes The Interstitial” to learn more about pop-up etiquette and why it is so important for both mobile and desktop UX.
# 7: Make Reading Easy For Mobile Readers
Reading on a mobile device is a lot different from reading on a desktop screen for a variety of reasons. Some are pretty obvious – like the small size of the screen itself. Others, such as multitasking while browsing, unpredictable surroundings, periodic interruptions, reading distance etc. also make reading a lot harder when you’re not sitting at a desktop in the tranquil, predictable atmosphere of your work cubicle or home office.
For all these reasons, the font size you choose has to be very clear and legible.
Font Size: Alas, there is no standardized font size for mobile screen, but as long as you’re on or in the vicinity of 16 pixels, you’re okay.
Font Style: The style of font you choose must have a smooth flow and the least ambiguity between letters. The reason is this: the structuring of certain words in a sentence can cause subtle interruptions. Words like “illiterate” or “milliliter” for example take a few extra splits of a second to decipher, no matter what font they are written in. To remove this friction, choose sans-serif fonts because they scale better and present well on most screen sizes. The success of a mobile-friendly font is that it is read easily – but not noticed!
# 8: Headlines Don’t Have To Shout
It’s an old, print magazine design flourish that has somehow been carried over to the digital space – using massive, stylized headlines for the sheer aesthetic beauty of it. Thing is, they don’t work quite as well on digital screens, and even less so on mobile ones because the headlines end up hogging most of the available space. Users have to scroll to read the first lines of the content – and many just bounce off instead of doing that. Reduce the size of headlines so the opening lines of the first paragraph are visible, and working to hook readers before they decide to leave.
# 9: Think Of White Spaces As Oxygen
Indeed, during a digital reading experience, the eyes and brain need to breathe. White spaces provide respite, even if the reader is not aware of them, so don’t be afraid to create a sensation of emptiness by using short, 1-3 line paragraphs.
Creating a great user experience on a mobile device is basically about one thing: making navigation easy for people. Letting them find what they want to find, when they want to find it. To serve up the best UX – the sort that visitors will love – you have to review your mobile site from their point of view. Un-know what you already know about your property, because the users don’t, and start a navigation experiment from scratch. Take notes on what caused even the tiniest bit of navigation confusion and work to resolve it. Use A/B testings to get further input on what’s working with your traffic and what’s not. The more you stay on the job of improving UX, the better it gets. And you get more traffic — and more sales — as just rewards for your efforts.
Matt is a founder and CEO of Mastodon Media. He’s a Christ-inspired entrepreneur with a mission to help professionals grow and companies flourish with the Christ-led principles of Business Discipleship.