User experience is everything these days. Customers respond more strongly to better buying experiences than lower prices, and a bad experience will send them to a competitor faster than a higher price. User experience is especially important when designing user interfaces.
In the rush to create a mobile presence, though, some companies push responsive website options that translate into awkward mobile interfaces. Others choose overly simple websites that read well on mobile but don’t provide the features users want.
Designing for web and mobile are two entirely different processes. The best results can be realized by focusing on why consumers use each platform.
Centering User Experience
User experience is more than window dressing. It’s fast becoming the biggest brand differentiator for customers flooded with similarly-priced offerings. Making it the core design goal increases customer satisfaction, prevents churn, and boosts revenue.
That’s not hyperbole, either. A 2016 study found that designing an intuitive user interface can lead to a 200% rise in conversion rates. Some sites have realized as much as a 400% increase by emphasizing user experience.
On the other hand, bad UX has a disproportionately large effect. 38% of web users leave a page within a minute if the design or layout isn’t appealing.
More than half of mobile users lose confidence in a company as a whole if the mobile experience is bad. 40% of all platform users abandon a page that takes more than three seconds to load.
Statistics like this suggest that while users do appreciate value, a pleasant and productive experience is now their main goal. This year 84% of global companies will respond to this demand by increasing their focus on user experience.
Difference Tools for Different Purposes
Smartphones and other mobile devices have grown as powerful as computers once were. Still, they’re used very differently than desktop and laptop computers. Consumers often switch devices throughout the day based on their current intent.
Mobile device activity peaks in the morning and evening, when people are preparing for their day or unwinding from work. It’s preferred for image or location-based social media platforms. When searching on mobile, users are highly focused.
They want quick answers to specific questions. 94% of smartphone owners use it to find local businesses, and 55% of mobile conversions happen within an hour.
There are some technical considerations when designing for mobile: smaller screens, variable signal, limited battery life, and the requirement that all interaction be done via touchscreen or voice. The average user doesn’t make much allowance for these limitations, though.
They expect a high quality experience every time they open an app or a mobile page.
- Intuitive navigation
- Location and mapping features
Desktops and laptops are used most often during the day (with an exception for late-night gaming). Consumers like to take their time on the web, performing casual searches to satisfy their curiosity about a brand or simply browsing.
They have more patience for deep research and longer reads. Social media sites lean towards the text based, and users might switch from their phone to post a lengthy rant or product review. Taken as a whole, desktop site visits last three times longer than mobile hits.
Web doesn’t carry the same technical limitations as mobile. Computer screens are as large as users want to make them, and there are fewer battery or connectivity concerns. However, web has much higher expectations for quality and performance.
Potential customers want to see everything they could possibly want to know about a company on a website, and when they can’t find information they become frustrated.
- Intuitive navigation
- Depth of information
- Galleries and video
- Current contact information
- Fast response to customer service requests
Tailoring the UI
Speed and performance are important regardless of device. The first pageload is the primary chance to catch a user’s attention. Keeping visitors on-site longer raises the chances of conversion, so aim for short load times and design which makes navigation simple.
Of course, this has to be done in different ways for web and mobile. Mobile devices are usually held vertically, meaning the design needs to be narrow and read well when scrolling. The landscape orientation of web offers more room for highlighting different features.
Now for the specifics:
- Follow device conventions for swiping and tapping to take advantage of what users already expect.
- Be careful about embedded video and high-res images. They increase load times and can send the bounce rate skyrocketing when too many are used.
- Make allowances for variable touchscreen input. Finger size and device precision can vary, so leave room for taps outside the target box and don’t crowd buttons close together.
- Avoid cluttered rows of drop-down menus.
- When presenting content, emphasize contrast. Users may be outside where sunlight makes viewing the screen difficult; clear lettering wins more points than exotic fonts. Designers can also use larger type and greater line height to provide more leeway when tapping links.
- Prioritize the most-searched content near the top, where it’s easy to find.
- Dropdown menus are a favorite way to put more information on the front page without creating a cluttered look. When overused, though, they read as dated. Consider using a longer main page that appeals to browsers with a row of shortcuts to common features at the top.
- Use large pictures and video to take advantage of the larger screen. Disable autoplay on inactive windows, though. Users tend to keep up to a dozen tabs open at once while browsing, and they often close out a tab which plays audio over the page they’re reading.
- Use dynamic features, mixed fonts, and plenty of space to break up large text blocks.
- Always, always, always provide easy-to-locate contact information. Three quarters of users list “lack of sufficient contact options” as their main complaint about enterprise websites. Consider using a chatbot to direct customer feedback to the right department.
A Final Note
User experience is highly subjective. Every company unique, and their customer base may respond differently than expected. These guidelines are a good start, but there’s no real substitution for user testing and adjusting to customer feedback.
A developer’s success is measured by the success of their clients. That’s why Concepta focuses on powering the kind of top-notch user experience that gets our clients maximum results. Set up a complimentary consultation to explore how to boost your UX- and your revenue!