I get it – it’s tough to build great mobile experiences. But a decade after the introduction of smartphones, your online visitors will be less and less forgiving toward flaws like those below.
Let’s jump right in.
1. No Mobile Adjustments At All
Sites like Desco’s are just baffling these days. Making no adjustments for mobile – whether it’s Responsive web design, Adaptive design, or a mobile version – just seems like a great way to reject a sizeable chunk of your audience. Unless mobile constitutes less than 5 percent of your traffic, don’t treat your website like it is 2006 and the iPhone hasn’t yet launched.
2. Unadjusted Text and Hotspots
Adobe is one of the best there is at digital software, which makes mistakes like this one stand out even more. On mobile, there’s a read-to-tap asymmetry: many of the things that are large enough to read are not large enough to tap. To deal with this, you have to make your hotspots for interaction larger.
The thumb operating on a four-inch screen isn’t nearly as precise as a mouse interacting with a 19-inch screen, so you need to give your users larger targets.
3. Death By Promos
Speaking of that 4-inch screen, there’s only so much of it. I certainly don’t recommend wasting any space on the desktop, but on a mobile screen, one inch will spell the difference between an engaged visitor and a visitor who will bounce.
Target’s home page doesn’t leave any room for the categories when you land; it just shows three promos. Instead, you need to first show users how they can navigate through your mobile site.
4. Unclear Icons
The hamburger menu – the three stacked lines typically found at the upper left-hand corner of the site – indicates that you can use that area to show the primary navigation options. Since this is an emerging standard, some sites actually add “MENU” next to that, just to be explicit. People are just getting used to this, so it pays to follow the standard pretty closely.
CDW’s clipboard area at the upper left-hand corner creates enough ambivalence to be noticeable, but it does not help users in any way. In general, you don’t want to risk getting in the way of a transaction, so you don’t want users to even think about what your navigation options look like.
5. Missing Call to Action
Remember splash screens, from when we were just starting out with the web? Do you feel an overwhelming sense of nostalgia and wish we went back to that? No?
Then you probably hate the return of that trend as much as I do.
For whatever reason, the website folks at Johns Hopkins University think mobile homepages like this are okay – and they are not alone. Just when you thought the war with the splash page was long gone, smartphones became a thing and a lot of sites have resorted to 1997-era, no call-to-action pages.
Don’t make this mistake: create pages with clear navigation elements and calls-to-action.
6. Jumping the Gun
Not to pick on Johns Hopkins, but their medical school’s site immediately asks you to add the home screen to your phone without even letting you navigate. These are the mobile counterparts of desktop ads popping up before you’ve had a chance to view the page for two seconds.
It’s a bad idea – let your users navigate, provide value, and then when you’ve provided a good user experience, make offers like these. These should never be used right out of the gate.
7. Unfocused Visuals
Saying New York Barbells’ site has “unfocused visuals” really doesn’t begin to capture the point. That’s like calling the white-hot, face-melting explosions at the center of the sun, “mildly warm.” Heck, even the screen capture doesn’t do it justice, since some of those selections toward the bottom are animated.
Suffice to say, even today, a lot of sites still get visuals wrong. Visuals should be used to reinforce navigation options, and you can’t use too many of them in too small a screen without overwhelming the user. Be deliberate and tactful when using images for mobile.
All of the above advice should seem obvious, but chances are you have many of these mobile conversion-killers on your site. So go check, and then fix them immediately.
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