The 4 most common problems with mobile websites

The great thing about using advanced in-page Digital Customer Experience technology is that you can uncover why website visitors behave the way they do within their individual online journey.

Here at Clicktale we’ve analyzed literally thousands of enterprise websites from every industry vertical. Here are the top 4 issues we’ve discovered to be the most problematic for mobile websites. By focusing on fixing these four issues, an organization can quickly make significant improvements to online customer experience and deliver stronger online business results in a short time:

1. The structure of the mobile page is not simple enough

One of the major differences between desktop and mobile navigation is the way visitors scroll. Due to the limited scope of the screen-size, mobile users tend to scroll straight to the bottom of the page to gain a feel for the length of the site. (Check out our previous article on this: Why the Mobile Footer Matters)

To make navigation easier, try to limit the length of the mobile page so visitors can more easily scroll to the bottom. Instead of adding more and more sections to the home page, place them in easily visible menus, links or sticky navigation. Adding a branded icon, like the large ‘E’ in the Etsy example below, can help consolidate navigation items and simplify the landing page. If the site is membership-based, having one clear sign-in button will make it much simpler for the user than having multiple buttons in the same area.

With the page’s content itself, it’s important to break it up into categories so that it doesn’t overwhelm the user. This will display less items per page and allow the images to display larger, making it easy for the user to scroll through and identify what they’re looking for. A great example of that is e-commerce platform, Etsy, that simplifies its mobile interface and enlarges its photos to make scrolling and navigation smoother for the user.

Mobile web apps

Another common mistake in mobile UX is to confuse or divert the visitor’s attention when they’re scrolling down important pages – typically the ‘purchase now’ or ‘contact us’ or ‘download’ pages.

While you may think it’s helpful to offer a subscription to a newsletter or blog sign up on these pages, it’s actually a significant source of drop-off. Make sure that the most important pages have only one call to action – the one that leads to a conversion!

 

2. The page content is not engaging enough

It’s common for enterprises to make mistakes in mobile design for a variety of reasons. People approach the content of a mobile site differently to the way they use a desktop site. What usually works for desktop pages –written text, is often too heavy and not engaging enough for mobile users.

There are several steps that you can take to ensure that your site is mobile-friendly. Try to separate your mobile pages as much as possible to keep your users from becoming overwhelmed, and switch out engaging images for text when possible.

Luckily, these common mistakes in mobile UX can be fixed, and testing your mobile responsiveness doesn’t have to be a shot in the dark. You can easy test your mobile friendliness with the Google Mobile Friendliness tool, which tests your site’s design and gives personalized recommendations for optimizing its performance.

It’s also crucial to replace a written call to action with a more visual one when possible. Try placing text in a prominent call to action button that stands out from the background colors of the site, or replace it with a bold icon.

Your shopping cart should also be easily accessible - the last thing you want is for your users to become confused with checkout and abandon the site at the end of their journey. Amazon does a great job at using a shopping cart icon to represent Checkout and always keeps it conveniently in the top right-hand corner. This type of consistency and clarity goes a long way with today’s mobile users.

3. Pages are not set up for mobile functionality

There are so many examples where mobile site visitors experience frustration due to sloppy or simply absent functionality.

eBayy app screen

Some of the typical functional issues include zoom, double tap and pinch functionality which is often missing. We’ve all experienced wasted seconds on a smartphone trying to zoom in on a tiny piece of text only to be frustrated again and again.

If you have to have small text on a mobile site, then make sure you can zoom or pinch in to read it – particularly if the text is a vital part of the conversion process such as a customer review or product spec.

Better still, remove superfluous small text where possible; replace text with zoom or swipe-enabled images; or make sure font sizes are reasonable for mobile browsing. See the size and prominence of the ‘Search Now’ button on the mobile website opposite. As you can see on Ebay’s mobile site, it’s easy to identify where the search button is and how to navigate the page.

In order to improve the loading speed and mobile functionality of your site, user AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) which is an open-source tool to help you create mobile-friendly content that loads quickly on your site. If you have a developer on your team, he or she can also integrate single page applications which actually updates the page as the user interacts with the app, making response time much faster. Google Mobile Speed Test is also a great option - the tool measures the performance of a page for mobile devices and identifies how you can improve page load time.

4. The site lacks cross platform compatibility 

Many users prefer to browse on mobile but then actually make the purchase on desktop. Make sure that their information is saved and they don’t need to start over again when going on desktop to ensure a seamless, simple process.

Conclusion – small changes can effect big results

None of the above points stand out for their sophistication. In fact, they’re all simple issues. Often, the problem with trying to optimize site performance is that we simply don’t experience our customers’ journey through their own eyes. And as a result, many customer experience issues are simply overlooked or hidden from view.

The beauty of Digital Customer Experience tracking is that you can uncover customer experience problems that may be small technically – but nevertheless big conversion show stoppers. The good news is that all of these can be fixed relatively quickly and easily. And the results to your online business can often be way out of proportion to the expenditure invested!

Interested in hearing how Clicktale can help you solve your critical customer experience challenges? Request a demo!

This post was originally published in October 2014 and has been updated for freshness and comprehensiveness.

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