How often do you employ a desktop computer for personal browsing anymore? The smartphone revolution has just about completely transformed the way we do things in this regard. Mobile has become the order of the day and having a firm grasp on the most important factors of mobile optimization is now absolutely key to your success in ecommerce.
Readily Legible Text
Well-designed ecommerce sites are capable of detecting the device upon which they are being viewed and displaying themselves accordingly. Among other things, this means text is automatically scaled to fit within the space available. Then again, you must also ensure your copy remains legible when this happens. Zooming in, then scrolling and panning to read a product description is a surefire way to get users to make their purchases someplace else.
Images & Video Must Load Properly
Again, thanks to responsive design, most contemporary websites do this automatically. But if yours doesn’t, videos and pictures may load at sizes too large to be viewed on mobile devices. Further, these elements might not load at all if your coding is outdated. When you’re considering how to build an ecommerce site, this is a key aspect to which you must be attentive.
Think Fingers for Button Sizing & Menu Interactivity
On a desktop screen, you have a mouse and a pointer with which to “click” on a button. However, mobile devices rely upon fingers and thumbs for this. If a button is too small, or if several buttons are positioned too close to one another, interaction can become cumbersome for the user mobile engagement. Similarly, dropdown menus can be difficult to use on mobile devices. It’s better to employ a layout that responds to scrolling through options rather than requiring users to hunt through a long dropdown list. Bottom line; always keep users’ fingers in mind.
Speed Kills (Or Rather, The Lack Thereof)
Mobile users are generally trying to find something fast, make a decision about it and take action. If your mobile site loads too slowly to accommodate this, people will abandon it in favor of a site capable of catering to their impatience. This is exacerbated by the fact that mobile devices run on slower networks than desktop systems—so they’re already a bit hamstrung. Make sure all of your content, including images and video, are optimized for fast loading.
Other tactics include minimizing the amount of content you expect a screen to display, displaying images and videos at lower resolution (you can get away with this because they’re rendered smaller) and adopting accelerated mobile page protocols.
Knowing What To Leave By The Wayside
Flash won’t play on most mobile devices, so don’t rely upon it for audio and video playback on your site. Popups can be the kiss-off death for mobile platforms as well.
You’re already dealing with a limited amount of screen space, so why give it to anything other than what you KNOW a shopper is probably looking for? If you find you have no choice in this regard, make sure they load fast and can be discarded with a single click to reduce user irritation.
Intuitive Interaction Is Key
Innovation definitely has a place in mobile computing. Still, intuition must be afforded within that innovation. In other words, whatever your innovation managers do, make sure users can determine how to interact with it simply by looking at it. Test your ideas among a control group of many different types of people before deploying a new navigation scheme broadly.
Keeping the most important factors of mobile optimization in mind will help you maintain your competitive edge as handheld devices continue to displace desktop machines in ecommerce.