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Five clever ways to enhance the mobile user experience

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26th Jun 2015
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With mobile searches already surpassing desktop searches it’s about time we, as marketers, started to think mobile first.

And with Google’s mobile friendly algorithm now in full swing, the mobile experience is more important than ever.

Here are five ways in which you can enhance the mobile user experience. I’ll focus on how you can increase visits, conversions and usability aspects, as well as ensuring that you collect data from your mobile audience to help you optimise your campaigns.

Simplified experiences

The mobile browser typically has a short attention span and expects to find what they’re looking for almost instantly. Cater for this user by making the journey as short and as simple as possible.

One growing method is using a predictive search box functionality which brings up relevant items as a visitor types. For example, the electronics company, Maplin, uses predictive search functionality within its site search box. As I begin to type in the word ’camera’ I can see relevant product items being listed:

So I click on cameras/camcorder accessories and I’m immediately taken to a list of results filtered by the best sellers to help you find the most popular items. If you’re looking for something a little more specific however, you are able to easily refine your search by price and name:

Similarly, you  should ensure that all pages are only a couple of taps away from the homepage if you want to keep the mobile browser engaged.

For example, applying a quick navigation menu to each product section as Lush cosmetics has done, will help your users to quickly get to where they want to be on your site:

Make it easy for mobile users to call you

We know that even in the digital age consumers still expect to be able to get hold of a human being. Recent research has also shown that 61% of mobile searches result in a phone call. For this reason, it’s important that you make your consumers aware that you  provide telephone assistance by placing your phone number in a prominent place on your mobile site. Here’s how Liberis display their phone number right at the top of their website (page?) and across the entire website:

Secondly, you need to make the telephone number ‘click to call’ or you’ll risk putting potential prospects off if they have to write the number down only to type it into their keypad. Liberis have also enabled their telephone number to be clickable for mobile devices:


 

Don’t forget to track the mobile journey for consumer insight

Whilst we can easily track the on-site user journey, it can be difficult to track the user journey when someone calls you. As we know, many mobile searches result in a phone call, so it’s important that we use technology to track where these visitors have come from and which page or channel prompted their call in order to get an even better understanding about our audience’s behaviour.

Technology like website call tracking software can track the consumer journey right up until they call you and their interactions with the site once the conversation has ended. By inserting a small piece of JavaScript on your website the software can track which source generated the call, be it paid, organic, referral or direct, which page or ad they called from, as well as call analytics like how the long the call was or whether it was a successful call.

As we know that calls are a very strong buying signal, if not where the majority of sales take place, so having this type of intelligence can give your business the edge when optimising for your market. Use the information to feed back into marketing campaigns and provide an even better mobile customer experience.

Eliminate long winded data entry

Smartphone users like to scroll and swipe. If they’re presented with long, complicated entry forms clearly designed for the desktop user it’s likely to cause frustration and the potential loss  of a sale. Here is an example of an off-putting contact form on an ecommerce website:

The form isn’t responsive, even when you go to type your data into the boxes, leaving you to zoom in and out manually.

Here’s an example from the Brew Tea Co. who have a responsive contact form which zooms in to the form section that you are about to complete. There are also fewer data entry options as the company simply asks for basic information.

Make payment options simple

Research from last year showed that 78% of mobile searches for local business information resulted in a purchase with 63% of people expecting to be doing more shopping on their mobile devices over the next couple of years. This highlights the necessity to offer an ecommerce checkout on your mobile site if you’re a retailer and that you should optimise the experience to meet these growing demands.

51% of consumers expect transactions to be easier on a mobile than they are offline or on a desktop so it’s crucial that you’re offering your prospects a smooth path to conversion. Badly implemented forms, untrustworthy looking sites and frustrating checkout options can be a huge barrier for potential customers.

AO.com has a simple form fill design with large text fields for those of us with bigger thumbs. 

They keep data entry to a minimum whilst offering alternative payment methods for their customers. They also allow customers to select their delivery date and time from a drop-down menu making the shopping experience work around them.

The payment progress bar at the top lets customers know where they are in the checkout process resulting in an incredibly user-friendly, no fuss, checkout experience. 

Summary

By the end of 2017, it is estimated that mobile purchases will make up nearly 75% of all transactions online. Therefore, it’s important to cater for shoppers who use mobile devices in a different fashion to when they use their computers. Streamlining the shopping process through careful design of the search experience will help drive conversions and sales.

Don’t forget to capture and analyse as much information as possible about your mobile customers as this will help you to continually optimise your campaigns and improve the overall mobile-user experience. 

Zoe-Lee Skelton is SEO content marketing consultant at Receptional.

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