Creating a great mobile customer experience

Customer Experience eCommerce Technology
Mobile UX

In this guest post, Jessica McDonald – Marketing and User Experience Manager for eCommerce specialist design consultants, Frooition – discusses the importance of creating a great experience for mobile shoppers.

Two-thirds of people now own a smartphone. 62% of smartphone users have made a purchase online using their mobile device in the last 6 months.

As screen size and mobile internet speed improve, more people are shopping from mobile devices, making mobile the fastest growing sector of e-commerce, with 15% yearly growth.

The mobile customer still has massive potential for growth, with 80% of shoppers using a mobile phone to research purchases. Yet it is still common for mobile e-commerce sites to have half the conversion rate of their desktop counterparts. Most of the product research customers do via mobile results in desktop or bricks and mortar sales. An extra step in the sale process that is due to retail sites offering pretty poor mobile user experience.

Here are six design features which can transform a mobile consumer experience from poor to excellent.

Design homepage as a visual summary

70% of mobile users will consistently scroll up and down the mobile homepage – when landing on a new site to get an overview of their options. It is important that top level categories are represented with mobile homepage content.

Allow zoom and swipe

Mobile users will automatically try to tap, swipe, pinch and zoom. 40% of mobile pages do not allow their product page images to be zoomed via gestures. While there is no web convention for image zoom on a mobile device, sites should support both tapping and pinch for image zoom. That said, supporting either one is still far better than none.

Make forms easy

Typing on a small screen is difficult. Make it easy for your customers by asking that they fill in as little as possible, and using an auto fill assistant.

Size for small screen and big fingers

Navigation with fingers is less precise than navigation with a mouse. Mobile sites need larger buttons and text fields in forms, and more white space between elements, to avoid accidental clicking of wrong buttons.

Picture sizes need to be changed for the small screen, and unnecessary elements need to be removed. Screen space is precious, and so every element of a mobile site needs to have a function. Your company logo should be smaller on mobile than on desktop, and fonts should be checked for readability on small screen.

Text size and spacing is also important. The small screens of mobile devices already make it difficult to read lines of text that are set too closely together. In fact, a line height that works for desktop screens may be much more challenging to read for mobile. Line height of at least 1.5 is a good place to start as it will give readers the perception of airy, yet readable text.

Use touch optimized keyboard layouts

If you want a customer to enter numerical information, make it easy for them by using an optimised keyboard. By offering a larger button size, you reduce the likelihood of typos and customer frustration.

When entering payment details, typos are much more common with the keyboard on the left. With an iPhone 6S, using an optimized keyboard actually increases the hit area by 521%. This reduces form validation errors, which are a massive cause of cart abandonment.

Don’t use auto rotating carousels

When the mouse hovers over a rotating carousel on desktop, the carousel will pause. Mobile users do not have this function, and so rotating carousels become a navigation hazard, with users often being lead to pages they did not intend to visit.

On desktop 30% of all mobile sites use auto rotation carousels, despite the fact that they cause major issues on all touch devices.

Core product categories, as well as factors that influence trust and decisions to buy which would be in a rotating carousel should be represented on the homepage with static images.

Use video

Videos allow us to absorb more information, faster than any other content form. The amount of time users spend watching video online has increased by 38.5% in the past two years. In fact, we now spend more time watching video than using social media. Most of this increase is from videos under five minutes long, watched on mobile devices. Video has an incredible effect on session duration, and 73% of customers say they are more likely to buy after watching a video demonstration of a product.

Sales from mobile devices are set to account for 45% of all e-commerce by 2020. Merchants who optimise for mobile now will be moving ahead of their competition.

Sources: BI intelligence, Nielsen, Baymard Institute.