It’s a fact, mobile devices generate more search traffic than traditional desktop computers. So it goes without saying that investing in a mobile website is no longer a whim, but a must. However, your mobile website should be designed with the user in mind and optimized for the best usability. It’s not easy to design and build a great mobile website, but some mistakes will lower user experience and penalize your search engine rankings. Below are 8 common mobile website design flaws you must avoid at all costs (or pay dearly if you don’t):
1. Non-responsive layout
If you want your website to look good and be easy to navigate on all devices, desktop or mobile, you need to make your website responsive. As an alternative, you can consider making a mobile version of your website, although it requires a lot more work when updating and it’s not as flexible as responsive web design. Read more about the differences between a responsive website and a mobile website here.
2. Content that can’t play on mobile devices
Most mobile devices don’t support certain types of videos or animated content, such as Flash animations or license-restricted media. You don’t want to provide a poor user experience to your viewers by including unplayable content. There are several ways to safely add a video on your mobile website, such as embedding it from YouTube or using HTML5 standard.
3. Faulty redirects to your mobile website pages
When users are accessing your desktop site’s URLs from their mobile device, they may not be redirected to the correct URLs of your mobile website. This should be avoided if equivalent URLs exist. Users who access your desktop website URLs on their mobile device should be directed to the correct mobile URLs. A common solution is to use responsive web design, which maintains the same URLs across all devices.
4. Interstitial ads
Although interstitial ads (overlays that partially or completely cover a webpage) are very common on desktop sites, viewing them on a mobile device can frustrate users. In many cases, they are even difficult to dismiss. The best way to provide a better user experience is to avoid interstitial ads altogether in mobile websites. Try using a simple banner to promote your products or services in line with the page’s content.
5. Cluttered webpages
Even if you have lots of things you want your visitors to see, it’s a lot better to display fewer things that are easy to access. Give users just enough information to guide their search, such as a menu with no more than 5 to 6 items. Avoid using sidebars or navigation panes that clutter the small screen real estate of mobile devices.
6. Slow loading time
Since many mobile device users are on the go or rushing to get somewhere, they will probably be annoyed if your mobile website takes 5 seconds or more to load. Large images or other types of media not only load slowly, but also consume more bandwidth. To optimize your site’s load speed, try reducing its visual content and keep the page size under 1MB.
7. Small text and touch elements
Web design for mobile devices should be easy to follow and navigate. This means that the text should be big enough to be read by everyone and the buttons or menus must be easy to touch. People don’t want to zoom in to be able to read or touch something on a mobile website. Another thing to note is that buttons should have enough space between them to avoid tapping on the wrong element.
8. Hard to find contact info
Making it easy for visitors to contact you is essential, especially if you sell goods or provide services. A good way to allow users to quickly contact you is to add a click-to-call feature which is clearly visible on your mobile website. Provide users who prefer sending a written message with a contact form or your email address.
If you’ve found at least one of the above mistakes in your mobile website, it’s time to fix it. Sometimes, usability mistakes in web design are hard to notice, but can have a great impact on your traffic and conversion rate.