Website UX for the Mobile-First Era

Previously on Epic Web Studios’ weblog, we discussed the paramount importance of user experience (UX) in web design — for search engine optimization, conversion rate optimization, and building all-around rapport and trust with your desired customer base. A website that is full of relevant and engaging content, easy to read and navigate, and overall fun and rewarding to interact with is bound to convert more users. Unless, of course, it does not work on their smartphones.

Design websites for the user and the device

According to Pew Research Center, 81 percent of today’s Americans own a smartphone, 74 percent own a laptop or desktop computer, and 52 percent own a tablet. It follows, then, that the majority of Americans access the Internet — and your website — through multiple devices. So while your target user might ultimately be the same person, his or her behavior may vary drastically depending on the device he or she is using.

There are two ways to account for this when formulating your web design strategy.

  1. A responsive design, which adaptively scales itself for a consistent display across all devices. While this may save time and money upfront, it is a bit of a compromise. 
  2. A mobile-optimized design, a slimmed-down and streamlined version of your website that caters to the unique needs of the increasingly important mobile user. In 2018, over half of Google search queries originated from mobile devices (Statista), with a third of those having local intent (Blue Corona). 

In response to this shift, Google defaulted to mobile-first indexing in July 2019 — meaning that the mobile version of new or previously unindexed websites has been given preference over the desktop version in tabulating search rankings. As such, mobile website UX is more of a priority than ever before. With a general understanding of the mobile user’s mentality and needs, we can provide a better mobile UX web design.

The mobile user is in motion

Your mobile site should accommodate for this by:

  • Cutting load times: Although load speed is critical on any device, it’s even more crucial on mobile browsers where network connections may be spotty. Developers should keep coding as lean as possible while resisting the urge to add too many multimedia “bells and whistles.”
  • Utilizing a less is more approach with content and graphic design: Be you and be on-brand, but get your point across quickly. Your message and identity should be discernible at a glance. Graphically, page elements and fonts should be large, clean, and high-contrast. Users should never have to pinch or zoom to see something.
  • Cooling it with the forms: It’s challenging to walk and type at the same time, although people certainly try. If you need to retrieve information from them with a form, do it in as few fields as possible. Bonus points if they are set up for auto-fill or auto-completion. (SIDENOTE: Never be pushy about obtaining information; use perks like discounts, free gifts, or complimentary trials as a show of good faith). 

The mobile user is goal-oriented

Cater to this by: 

  • Positioning most important page elements “above the fold”: Your website’s primary calls-to-action ( most directly related to your business goals) and functionality should be visible and easily tappable at first sight — without scrolling. Especially on the homepage.
  • Streamlining navigation and user flow: Users should not feel as if they are fighting upstream to sign up for your service or buy your product. Make their goals fulfillable in the minimum amount of steps, and the process of getting there obvious with visual cues and reminders. Also, ensure that is impossible to get lost with a tappable logo (leading back to the homepage) and a hamburger menu (leading to the subpages) in opposite corners at the top. 
  • Bold CTAs: CTA buttons should be concise and forthright — instead of having visitors “learn more” about your business, product, or service (implying more reading and more steps), have them “find nearest location” or “get started” so they can be on their way immediately. Furthermore, the button should stand out from the rest of the content with a bright, inviting color. 

The mobile user is easily distracted

Whereas a desktop user or tablet user is certainly prone to distraction, they’re usually stationary or in a more static environment and likelier to return. Conversely, mobile users could be anywhere doing anything, so a distraction like an incoming call or running into an acquaintance could be fatal to conversion. As such, your mobile site should provide the option for them to resume their sign-up or purchase later on any device (such as that desktop at home after the kids have gone to bed and it’s less chaotic), whether through e-mailing themselves a reminder with the appropriate link or bookmarking on social media. 

Most mobile users become desktop and tablet users soon enough. 

Your best website on any device

(Screen) size doesn’t matter. Epic Web Studio’s talented team of developers and designers build quality, high-converting websites scaled to fit any device. Contact us to bring your web presence into the next generation. 

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