Mobile optimization is a tricky thing, there’s no doubt about that. It’s one thing to optimize a website using the many factors that go into converting visitors—all while you’re considering the various nuances introduced by different browsers. But when you’re talking mobile, you’ve got a whole slew of confounding factors making mobile optimization a gigantic, and practically unsolvable, puzzle. Here are a few mobile optimization mishaps that could be making your visitors say adios.
Consider this: You’re in your car, in a parking lot, frantically searching for some much-needed info on your mobile device. You finally find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and you’re super happy about it. There’s just one little button that you have to click to actually capture the gold, so you click it. Oops, wrong button. Go back. Rinse and repeat.
Has that ever happened to you? Those tiny CTA buttons just aren’t easy to click on, especially for users with fat fingers. (No, we’re not saying your fingers are fat. Just that your fingers have probably at some point been fatter than required to click one of said tiny buttons.) And after a few frustrating attempts at this endeavor, your visitors are going to give it up and go elsewhere. We know we would. Make your CTA buttons big, strong and clickable.
Super-Tiny Text or the Dreaded “Need to Scroll”
This is less of an issue now that publishers are starting to realize that non-mobile optimized sites are basically alienating a huge portion of their audiences, but it’s still a problem nonetheless—even for some optimized sites. Here’s the deal: When you visit a mobile site, you want the text to be readable. Sure, you can increase the size of the text in most mobile browsers, but then what happens? Everything gets bigger and you now have to scroll back and forth to read the copy. UGH. No thanks. Make sure your text is readable without the dreaded scroll requirement.
Missing an App-Building Marketing Opportunity
Here’s another dirty little secret about mobile users: They don’t actually like to use their browsers. It’s true. Mobile users prefer apps, which are easily accessible via home screen widgets, to opening up a mobile browser and dealing with the hassle of filtering through all the non-optimized websites out there trying to find what they’re looking for.
Of course, not all businesses are well-suited for a mobile application. But you should evaluate the potential here, because if your competitors are building useful apps while you’re still forcing them to do the unheard of and actually use their mobile browsers, your visitors will flock to your competition.
Trying to Mimic Your Desktop Version
It’s easy to be fooled into thinking you need a mobile website that looks and functions exactly like the desktop version of your site. But here’s a tip: Stop thinking that. Seriously, like right now. But what about branding, you say? Tie your brand images into your mobile-optimized site, but make it much more usable on the smaller mobile screens. There’s just no way, unless you have a really, really simple design to start with, that you can realistically cram all that onto a tiny mobile screen and keep a sanity-maintaining level of functionality.
Buying into the Menu-Bar Madness
Because you’re probably used to optimizing websites for search engines, we’re gonna cut you a little slack on this one. When it comes to SEO, menu bars can be pretty darn valuable for incorporating relevant anchor text to appropriate areas of your site—not to mention drastically improving usability. But again, mobile’s a whole different ballgame.
Menu bars are one of the most common mistakes made when designing for mobile. If you’re getting stuck on cramming all those menu options on a mobile-sized screen, get over it. There’s a new trend emerging, anyway, that you’re going to want to jump on: Using a three-bar icon to convey the existence of an expandable menu. Genius. Not only do you maintain functionality, but you look like you’re in the know, too. Get Elastic has a whole post on new menu options for mobile websites, along with a bunch of cool examples. Do check it out.
Are you guilty of these mobile optimization no-nos? What factors have you found that send your mobile audience packing, and what keeps them around?