Delivering a first class mobile experience: key priorities

By Rob Thurner

One month on from Mobilegeddon, mobile site optimisation remains a hot topic.

While businesses know that Google will penalise them for failing to deliver a mobile-friendly site, many remain unclear as to what that means from a design and user experience point of view, and how to win brand buy-in to get the job done.

With mobile SEO visibility at stake – not to mention the growing number of sales made via mobile – I’ve identified the five key priorities to delivering a first-class mobile experience.

1. Winning around stakeholders

Knowing what customers want from your site is central to delivering an excellent mobile experience. Are they comparing prices, booking tickets, reading free content, or buying a product? Dive into your data to learn more about what motivates your visitors, then assess the resources and budget needed to develop the best site your internal and external teams can deliver.

The sector you work in, your company culture, and your management’s attitude to tech will all influence how you make your business case for mobile optimisation investment. In the gambling world, for example, over 70% of site traffic and 50% of bets placed are via mobile, so excellent UX is a no-brainer.

2. Creating a customer first site experience

Many brands proudly position themselves as "mobile first", and are happy to develop apps and optimise sites for the smaller screen, but you should never forget who you’re doing it all for.

A "customer first" approach means personalising the site to each user, incorporating previous browsing patterns and purchase history, upstream click path analysis, geo-location, daypart, and product recommendations.

Topshop’s new site, launched in December, is an excellent example of this. Homepage images change in real time to maximise click-thrus to product pages. Data from Qubit shows a prominent search box on the homepage drives a 10x increase in conversion.

3. Creating and maintaining great UX

HTML5 has helped, as has responsive web design and superior handsets with generous screens. But great UX behind a winning customer first approach goes beyond what’s displayed on a landing page and feeds into future site development.

Make the most of customer insights to make informed choices regarding social channels, search terms, banner ad creative, and affiliates, plus site feel, product descriptions, packages and pricing.

4. Mobile’s role in complex customer journeys

Getting it right most of the time isn’t enough; your site must satisfy user demands at every stage of the customer journey. Google estimates over 50% of online purchases take more than 20 days to complete. Many will involve multiple screens.

5. Optimising conversion

Historically, mobile conversion sucks. Counterintuitively, the checkout pages on retailer mobile sites are often the weakest link in the journey. Why?

My theory is that either the checkout process includes too many stages, increasing the likelihood that poor connectivity will scupper a user’s purchase, and/or the on-screen navigation is unclear.

On-screen guidance regarding password requirements, show and hide options, and postcode lookup can all make navigation through the final stages of purchase pain free.

Take outs

  • Make sure stakeholders know the percentage of mobile traffic, and how it compares to competitors.
  • Use internal and external feeds to personalise the site, driving repeat visits and positive referrals.
  • Customer feedback informs the site UX, but also demand for products, promotions and pricing.
  • Keep the checkout process short and simple, provide clear navigation and hand holding.


Our next DigitalFWD meetup on "Directions in Mobile" is in London on 3 June and is free to attend.


Header image licensed under Creative Commons, Paul Hudson via Flickr