Smartphones, tablets, wearables: the use of mobile devices nearly doubled in one year alone, from 2013 to 2014. Marketers in the mobile age need to understand how mobile usage impacts customer behavior.
Mobile device capabilities are evolving. Larger screens, faster processors and high-speed broadband is changing the way we surf the mobile web and the design and capabilities of mobile websites. An estimated 2.6 billion people will be subscribing to LTE bandwidth in the next five years.
An effective mobile strategy takes into account how customers use their phones to connect with a brand, and how brands connect with their customers.
Here are eight tips marketers should consider when implementing a mobile strategy:
1. Prioritize performance.
Mobile visitors are impatient. Very impatient. They expect the site to load as quickly as a desktop site; 74 percent of users will wait five seconds or less. 80% of mobile web users say they will use a site more if the initial experience is fast and reliable.
2. Design for touch inputs.
Mobile sites need white space and larger buttons. Touch targets have minimum size requirements. And remember, no equivalent to “hover” on mobile.
3. Pay attention to details.
The smallest detail can have a tremendous impact on the user experience.
4. Simplify content.
Design a mobile site for ease of understanding. Streamline and pare down. If in doubt, leave it out.
5. Optimize for readability.
Follow best practices for typography—for instance, headlines should be 2.5 times the size of body copy, space between lines should be 1.5 times the size and 55 to 75 characters per line allows for optimal reading comprehension.
6. Embrace scrolling.
Know that almost every visitor to a mobile site will intuitively scroll down. Design the site with scrolling in mind.
7. Remember the context.
Understand how users interact with mobile sites and use common sense in calls to action.
8. Be flexible.
Things change fast, and a good mobile strategy allows brands to stay nimble and pivot. The mobile space is a moving target. Stay nimble.
Mobile sites can be built in a variety of formats: native apps, a separate M.Dot site or a fully responsive site.
The hard truth about native mobile apps is, they usually fail. Many firms build a native app and only get a handful of downloads. One study found that 85% of native mobile apps get fewer than 1,000 downloads in their lifetime.
M.Dots, or separate, simplified mobile sites, used to be a good approach, but with powerful new smartphones offering a full range of capabilities, a simplified site isn’t so smart.
Our developers believe that building a responsive site is the way to go. Responsive design allows a mobile site to shift and adapt to be fully optimized on any screen and any device.
What kinds of features make a mobile experience satisfying for a customer?
- Geolocation provides maps, directions to the nearest location, localized content and language translation.
- Invites, to-dos and events can be synced with the user’s calendar.
- A single click lets users share content on social media channels, make a call or add a new contact.
- Make sure there are no barriers between devices as users might begin a task on mobile and finish it on a desktop.
- Keep an eye on the future to capitalize on wearables and other new technologies.
Craving more on mobile? Nielsen Norman Group's recent article The State of Mobile User Experience addresses several of the themes we discuss here in this recap.