Mobile UX: What is it and why is it so important?

Jul 09, 2012
Alexandra Barcelona

Buisnessman on phoneUser experience (UX), in terms of web design, is a term used to describe a user’s interaction with your site. UX is one of the most, if not the most, important aspect of your mobile site. Why is it so important? People are emotionally attached to their phones and mobile devices. Some even say they feel ‘naked’ without it. If they find your mobile site cumbersome or have a negative experience with it somehow, they’re likely to abandon your brand completely.

Mobile UX is different than desktop UX

Look at a laptop and then look at a smartphone or other mobile device. Right away, you can see a noticeable difference between the two, and though size is something to consider, there are other aspects that need to be taken into account for creating the best mobile UX.

  • Click vs. tap
    Users on mobile devices don’t have a mouse. They use their fingers to browse through your site, so try to reduce the amount of ‘clicks’ needed to move around your mobile site to improve UX.
  • Scroll vs. swipe
    In mobile, users are swiping either through pages or up and down pages, rather than scrolling with a mouse. Be sure to take this into consideration when creating content/pages on your mobile site.
  • Big fingers vs. small keyboards
    Keyboards on mobile devices (even tablets) are much smaller than desktop/laptop keyboards, so remember that when creating your mobile site.

     Big fingers are also important to consider when creating links/buttons within your site. Make sure they’re large enough to be clicked with accuracy. Inaccurate clicks because the button is too small or too close to another can cause user frustration and site abandonment.

Developing your mobile site

When you’re creating your mobile site, it’s important to put your customers’ needs first. This means you have to sit back and think about why they’ll be visiting your site, not why you want them to visit your site.

  • Are they looking for your phone number so they can call and place a quick order to go?
  • Do they need directions to your store?
  • Do they need a quick run-down of your product so they can compare it to one they’re looking at in a brick-and-mortar store?

Key factors for optimum UX design

  • Time – Users on their mobile devices are more than likely looking for information quickly. Your site should load quickly (this means you need to watch the amount of images you have on your site as they tend to slow things down).
  • Location/Contact – Make your location and contact information very easy to find on your mobile site. Having an easy way for customers to tap and get directions to your store from wherever they are, or easily place a call to your company is important for good mobile UX.
  • Quick Content - Like load time, most mobile users are on a time constraint when it comes to finding information. They’re looking for something quick and easy and don’t want to have to read though pages of text to find it. Keep this in mind when building product pages – have quick, important facts about the product prominent on the page. Making your content consumable for the mobile user is very important to overall UX.
  • E-commerce – the number of people making purchases on their mobile devices is on the rise[1]. This is something that should be of great interest to those who run an ecommerce site. When it comes to purchasing on mobile devices, make sure it’s quick and easy. The easier the check-out process, the more likely they are to follow through with the purchase.

There are many aspects that go into mobile UX. Will you use a native app or a mobile optimized site? What will your site look like on different devices? How will you incorporate responsive design without losing your branding?

A lot of time and effort needs to go into creating your mobile UX. Remember, mobile is not just a smaller version of your desktop site. It requires planning, strategy and testing to produce the best results; however, the effort you put into your mobile UX will pay off as the number of consumers using their mobile devices to visit websites continues to increase[2].

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Resources

Mobile UX Design [Slideshow]

[1] Who’s Buying What on Mobile Devices?  

[2] Mobile Internet use continues to grow