The invention of the mobile phone is truly one of the most influential and important technological advances in history. You could easily argue that it ranks right up there with electricity, modern medicine, and the television. It is difficult to remember a time before we had a portable communication device with us at all times that connected us to our friends, family, and the entire pool of shared human knowledge.
In terms of business, the mobile phone has also been a huge game changer – specifically when it comes to online sales and marketing. 82% of consumers have made a purchase from their phone, and 35% of shoppers only use mobile devices for online shopping these days. However, the design and functionality of a website can have a major impact on consumer interactions. If a site is not properly optimized to their mobile device, customers will not just disengage; 61% will never return and 40% will go directly to a competitor’s website.
Of course, most designers are well aware of the fact that their websites need to perform impeccably on the smaller screen. There have been many trends and myths that have circulated about the best approach to mobile design. However, a lot of this information is simply outdated and irrelevant in today’s market – as consumer’s preferences and behaviors change all the time.
Let’s discuss the top three mobile design myths that could be hurting your optimization efforts.
1. Minimalism = Simplicity
Minimalism and simplicity are vastly different concepts. In mobile design, simplicity is about conveying key concepts in the most concise way possible. Minimalism can easily result in poor communication of key concepts. In order to be properly showcasing your expertise, the mobile site needs to be simplistic, yet still offers the same bits of information and action- ability as the desktop version.
One of the key differences between simplicity and minimalism is functionality. A minimalist design is going to look very visually appealing with clean lines and use of white space. However, a minimalist mobile site might also offer the minimum amount of options. This may be done by hiding links through hidden navigational bars or subfolders. While this does make for a highly organized website, it can make it extremely difficult for a new visitor to find what they are looking for. Take a look at the website below:
Although it does look great, its functionality is terrible. There is one small hidden CTA button and a very hidden navigational bar on the far right. At first glance, you may not even notice these.
Instead, opt for a simplistic approach that is still visually attractive but does not cut things down to a minimum just for the sake of appearances. Keep CTA’s highly visible, but try to simplify them to main categories.
2. Usability Trumps Aesthetics
Usability is crucial for selling services online, promoting products, or demonstrating authority through a mobile site. But, usability does not automatically equal a good UX.
Aesthetics are critical in appealing to human psychology and getting them to take the desired action. According to Adobe’s report, two-thirds of consumers would prefer to interact with a mobile website that is beautifully designed, than one that is plain and boring. However, close to 40% would immediately disengage if there were any issues with usability, such as slow loading speeds. Therefore, the appearance of your website needs to go hand-in-hand with the usability.
It’s about finding a balance here. Of course, you want your mobile website to reflect your brand and represent its personality and voice through the design.
For example, an e-commerce website needs to offer a checkout process that supports high conversion rates – plain and simple. Moreover, this checkout process needs to be coherent with the rest of the site’s design.
Topshop’s checkout page is fairly plain and boring, and doesn’t do much to add to the overall aesthetics of their brand.
On the other hand, the checkout process for MVMT is just as beautifully designed as the rest of their website. Although both of these checkout pages get the job done, MVMT’s is much more attractive.
3. Mobile Users Are Easily Distracted
No one will argue that attention spans are getting shorter. However, designing your mobile platform with the assumption that visitors are always on the go and can’t stay tuned in for long periods of time will lead to shoddy execution – such as a lack of key information or simply coming on too strong.
It is important to remember that many consumers are coming to your site on their mobile device for research, rather than a final decision. Therefore, the main purpose of your mobile site should not be to drive instant conversions and impulse buys. Focus on offering resources that your mobile device users would be most interested in.
Consumers spend a lot of time watching videos on their mobile devices, so why not invite them to watch this type of content on your mobile site and explain more about your brand? Interactive content like quizzes are also very popular and easy to complete on mobile devices, so this can be a great way to instantly engage.
Hum, a nutrition website, does a fantastic job of this.
As mobile phones become a monumental part of everyday life, it is vital for businesses to keep up with the consumer behavioral trends and preferences. What once worked a few years ago may not be optimal for today’s online shopper.
Reassess the mobile version of your website and make sure you are not falling victim to these design myths. Pay attention to the way that your customers are interacting with your mobile site and adjust accordingly for a better UX.