WE’RE BAAAACK! Now that we’ve gotten ourselves all caught up on how to be hardcore about local, it seems only natural to talk about creating conversion-friendly mobile pages, yes?  Up to help us on our mission today are Anand Chandrasekaran, Bruce Ernst, Masha Fisch, and Kelli Kimpton.

Shall we?

Greg Sterling is moderating and notes that people are spending more time on mobile than watching TV. And that more people are spending more time on mobile apps than on their PC. So if you’re not paying attention to mobile you’re doing yourself a marketing dispractice. You should get on that.

Up first is Masha. She’s from Google. Let’s be nice to her anyway. ;)

Which would you prefer to use: A squished desktop site viewed on mobile phone or a mobile-friendly Web site?  You’d rather view the latter. It’s easier to scan and use. Your users think the same thing.

Mobile users have high expectations. 58 percent of mobile phone users expect mobile sites to load as quickly or faster than desktop sites. Mobile users are on the go, they’re looking for information quickly, etc. If the site is taking a long time to load, they’re going to get very frustrated and leave you for a competitor.

Why invest in a mobile site?

To boost performance.

  • 51 percent of users were more likely to make a purchase on a mobile friendly site
  • 40 percent would visit a competitors site if they  had a bad experience on your mobile site. Ouch.

10 Best Practices For Mobile Sites

Keep It Quick: Make sure your site loads quickly. Compress images to keep them small for faster loading. Prioritize content and features that mobile users need the most. Use your desktop analytics to see what mobile users are doing. Reduce large blocks of text and use bullet points for easy reading.

Simplify your navigation: Minimize scrolling and keep it vertical only. Help users navigate between levels with clear back and home buttons. Have a search box prominently available on complex sites.

Be Thumb Friendly: Use large centered buttons and give them breathing room to reduce accidental clicks. Pad small buttons to increase the clickable area.

Design for Visibility: Create contrast between background and text. Use size and color to indicate link/button priority. Use plenty of negative space. Make sure content fits onscreen and can be read without pinching or zooming. Use 3D effects and shadowing for buttons.

Make it Accessible: Use HTML5 for interactivity and animation. Adapt your site for both vertical and horizontal orientations. Keep users in the same place when they change orientation. Find alternatives to Flash – it doesn’t work on some mobile devices.

Make It Easy to Convert: Use click to call functionality for phone numbers. Use checkboxes, lists and scroll menus to make data entry easier. Reduce the number of steps to complete transactions. Keep forms short and use the fewest number of fields possible. Focus on information that will aid conversion.

Make It Local: Have your address or store locator on the home page. Allow users to check stock at nearby stores. Include local ads and deals. Include maps and directions. Use GPS to personalize the experience

Make It Seamless: Provide prominent access to login, shopping cart and saved favorites functionality to make it easier for users who go between mobile and desktop devices. Display the same key information for product and services. Maintain key features of the site across all channels as much as possible.

Use Mobile Site Redirects: Give users the choice to go back to the desktop site, but make it easy to return to the mobile site. Let users choose which version they prefer to see for later visits.

Listen, learn and iterate: Use analytics to understand how your mobile users use your site.  If possible, do user testing before launching a complex site. Implement and collect user feedback after launch. Iterate often and continuously improve your site.

Get started today: see what your mobile customers see. Run your site through the GoMoMeter at HowToGoMo.com. You can also run your competitors’ sites through it. Just sayin.

Next Steps:

  • See how your site appears on mobile
  • If needed, utilize the preferred vendors lists
  • Use Google’s best practices to make improvements to your site.

Next up is Anand.

As people use mobile as their primary Internet consumption, it’s increasingly becoming a transactional environment. We want to give as little information as possible and get their answer.   He talks about how Yahoo is trying to reshape the mobile experience to serve answers, not pages.

Before Creating The Page

What was the objective? Traffic recirculation, surfacing answers.  They had to think about user’s intent and the user’s context. They give you a lot to work with in terms of do you have a click to map action, a click to call action, etc?

The other topic was the Value Exchange & Upsell component.

Mobile Web Experiences

If you searched for the Academy Awards before the winners were announced, it listed the nominees. Then, as the awards were being announced, the mobile page was updated in real time to see the winners.  They know that most likely, this is the information people are looking for.

For the sports fan, if you’re searching for a team, you’re looking for the previous game, the next game, or the overall status of the team. Understanding the content for that query helps deliver the right thing in one screen.  For every additional click you ask someone to make, 50 percent of users DON’T make it and just leave.  So the less you ask them to do, the better. At Yahoo, they wanted to recirculate their premium content.

Where does an app make sense?

Two situations where it made sense for them:

  • ‘NearMe’ Buttons [Location] – allows them to deliver a better landing page based on context
  • Voice Queries – People like to talk to phones.

Which Canvas To Go With

App vs Web?

  • Video/Audio manipulation
  • Offline storage and delivery
  • Partner support for your landing page
  • Notifications and push
  • Location
  • Voice/Maps based engagement
  • Leverage device features

Next up is Bruce.

We all agree that devices, from a technical perspective, are all very different. Do not ignore Google’s ten best practices. If you’re not doing those, you should put everything else you hear in this session on hold.

Don’t lose your perspective that behind all these devices are people. You shouldn’t judge a person by their browser. DISAGREE! ;) The more things change, the more they stay the same – and this applies in the mobile world.  Mobile has changed the way we focus on things, but the core things are still the same. A landing page that ignores its visitors’ reasons for coming is still a lousy landing page even if you make it usable. Think about your fundamentals.

The Mobile Lens

  • Who is searching?
  • Why are they searching?
  • Have you answered their question?
  • Can you do more?

New Vs Returning customers are fundamentally different.

  • Do returning visitors have a purpose?
  • Are they less likely to be killing time?
  • Is this an acquisition opportunity or are you playing defense?

For a new user, making them feel comfortable is going to take up a lot of your precious real estate.

Copy

  • Take the time to make it short
  • Grab attention quickly
  • Short & Sweet – Think tweet
  • Headlines really matter
  • Emotion

The Right Technographics

Thinks about your real estate and how things are showing up.

Think about speed – wifi vs 3G.

Don’t stop at the landing page

If you don’t convert on the landing page, watching your links and keep your offers consistent.

Test, Test, Test!

This is a new area. Nobody has the definitive answers. We don’t yet fully understand the effect of the mobile lens. Use a tool designed for the purpose.

To Sum Up

  • Make it usable
  • Make it useful
  • Make it relevant
  • Don’t stop at the landing page
  • Test, test, test

Next up is Kelli.

Excellent user experience is key to creating conversions

  • Mobile and desktop conversions are both created with great UX
  • However, great UX is different in each environment

Understanding Mobile Users

  • Content & Cognitive Strain
  • Mobile Mindsets – Microtasking, local bored
  • Digital Omnivores
  • Research Your users

We can assume things about a user if we know they’re on a desktop – they’re sitting down, they’re at work, they’re in a coffee shop. We understand their strain.  It’s very different on mobile. They may be on a street corner trying to grab a cab and get the address for a restaurant.

comScore found that the way that we are using our mobile devices in conjunction with desktop devices is changing the entire game of conversions. People are consuming content at different places throughout the day.

Mobile Opportunities

Device-Specific Opportunities

– Geolocation, camera, video, voice

Mobile Trend Opportunities

– Social networking, retail, top growth categories

Social Networking

  • 60 percent followed posted links to Web sites
  • 57 percent read posts from organizations
  • 41 percent shared links to Web sites

Top Growth Categories [over the last year]

  • Health – 134 percent
  • Online Retail – 87 percent
  • Job Listings – 74 percent
  • General Reference – 74 percent
  • Classifieds – 72 percent

[stats from comScore’s Mobile Future in Focus 2012 Study, which I now can’t wait to get my hands on.]

Retail Commerce

Product research on the rise

Nearly half of tablet users have made a purchase online

In-Store Use

  • Comparing product prices
  • Researching features
  • Scanning product bar codes
  • Finding coupons and deals

Features & Content

For ever features that’s removed, the UI has one less thing to confused users and thus makes the remaining features easier to use – Jakob Nielson  Mobile use cases should drive features.

Make Interaction Easy

  • Input types for contextual keywords
  • Clickable phone numbers
  •  Smart default values
  • Shorter registration forms
  • Large click-states
  • Offer to remember logins

Principles of Influence

  • Social proof – social media
  • Liking – aesthetic, mobile UI patterns
  • Reciprocation – coupons
  • Scarcity – mobile only, limited time offers

Read the rest of our SMX West 2012 liveblogging coverage for more insight.


About the Author

Lisa Barone

Lisa Barone co-founded Outspoken Media in 2009 and served as Chief Branding Officer until April 2012.



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