How to make sure your website is easy to use (#3 of 5)
AUTHOR: Tom Perkins
Would you like to improve your conversion rate by 160%? It’s every business owner’s dream surely and yet so many businesses miss out on this opportunity by failing to make their website truly responsive. It has been proven that users are 160% more likely to convert when using a mobile website which has been optimised for viewing on a mobile. There is nothing worse than opening a website you are really interested in, only to find the text is impossible to read on your phone’s small screen.
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1. Make sure your website is optimised
It’s not just mobile phones which you need to think about, but if you can optimise your site no matter which device your potential customer is viewing it on, then your site will be a lot easier to use by your potential customers.
Don’t forget, someone viewing your website on a laptop will be very different to someone just browsing through it in their lunch hour on their mobile phone or tablet.
2. Make it easy to use, no matter which device
One of the questions I get asked is why the website needs to be responsive and why it’s not just a case of making a smaller version for a mobile phone. A responsive website actually responds according to the screen it’s being viewed on and the reason this is important, is to give your customers a user-friendly experience. Remember that 160%?
A key difference is how users control and navigate through the website. A mobile user will be scrolling with their thumb, while a laptop user will use the mouse and keyboard controls, which are much more precise.
So in a mobile website you need to ensure that buttons and links are large enough to click with a thumb so that your potential customers can easily navigate with their thumbs.
Responsive design enables you to expand the size of these controls for smaller screen sizes instead of having to make the change for all users if it’s not appropriate.
3. Users need to be able to find what they’re looking for quickly and easily
A responsive site can be set up to make the best use of screen size so that elements which might take up too much space, and won’t enable the user to navigate easily on a smaller screen, simply don’t appear to them, for example, large images or large banners.
A mobile or tablet optimised website will have a menu button generally, rather than navigation across the top of the screen, to make it easier to work their way through the site, and this helps make sure the content isn’t wider than the size of the screen, which makes it impossible to find what you need.
There’s nothing worse than going to buy something only to realise the Pay Now button has gone off the edge of the screen, leaving an incredibly frustrated customer, who will no doubt then head off to a competitor’s website instead.
4. Think about the language your potential customers would use
One of the most common mistakes people make when trying to create a website is writing it how they would want it themselves, rather than how their customer needs it to be written. For example, you might run an accountancy firm, but if you write your website content in a very technical, jargon-filled way that would only be understood by accountants, you will put off your customers.
If your customers are looking for an accountant, the chances are it’s because they don’t have that type of skill or knowledge themselves so write your content in a way that appeals to your customers, not yourself.
When writing for an optimised site, bear in mind things like the length of the page titles and the use of very long words in headings, as these might run over onto several lines on a mobile phone screen and not create the right impact you are looking for.
Keep it simple and jargon-free, and make it very clear and easy for customers to understand where they can find each element of the website. Don’t try to be cute and clever with page names as people have certain expectations about what pages to look for when navigating a site.
5. How can I tell if my website is responsive?
If you have had your website for some time but aren’t sure whether or not it’s responsive, there are a number of ways you can check this out for yourself. The easiest way is to view your website using your own mobile phone and tablet, to see what it looks like for yourself.
Another way is to open your website up full screen on a computer and then shrink the size of your browser window using your mouse and watch to see if your website adapts as the viewing area reduces. If you can just see less of the website, then it’s not responsive.
However, there is a really good free test out there which will easily show you how optimised your site is for mobile users and that’s Google’s mobile friendly test.
It really couldn’t be simpler – you just type your URL into the online Google test page, and it will then show you an image of what your website would look like on a mobile phone. It gives you an instant visible red sign to say the site is not mobile friendly or a green one if it is.
The online test is free and it also assesses particular aspects of your website, for example, it will tell you whether the clickable items on the site are too close together, which would make it very hard for a mobile user to use successfully.
It also looks at whether the text is just too small to be read on a mobile phone screen and whether the content is too wide to fit on the screen. Both of these are key elements which would potentially put off a mobile user trying to use your website.
It is entirely feasible that your website will be the first time your customer has seen your company so it’s important that it is easy to use and gives them a great user experience. if you want to make sure those who are accessing your site on mobile phones and tablets move from being visitors to customers, you need to ensure your site is responsive. Hopefully the points outlined above will help to make sure your website is optimised for every kind of device your potential customers might be using. If you have any questions or need any help or advice, feel free to give me a call (01264 735 333) or leave me a comment below. Coming up in the next post in this series, I’ll explain why it’s critical your company’s website has credibility with your customers.