The idea that your website content and functionality should be reduced or stripped back for Mobile versus its Desktop counterpart sounds logical. But before you decide to strip back any features or functionality for Mobile, here are some things to consider.
1. Don’t assume users don’t make purchases on mobile
According to Google (August 2012), 90% of people move between devices to accomplish a goal. Google describes various examples of how users will start a task on one device, and complete it on another, known as sequential screening. Smart phones are the most common starting point, and then users move to another device to complete a task, such as booking a flight.
What could be the reason for this? Is it because complex interaction like the check-out process could be easier to do on a desktop? Maybe for some websites but not all. In addition to this, Forbes predicts that 87% Of Connected Devices Sales By 2017 Will Be Tablets and Smartphones. Consider how much revenue you might miss out on by not allowing users to purchase via mobile.
2. Don’t assume mobile users won’t need critical features available on the desktop
E-bay and Linked-in initially chose not to build the ‘forgotten password’ feature for mobile, assuming that users would not attempt to retrieve a password on a mobile. “Mobile is too small – forget it”. They were wrong. Today, the mobile website now has this feature. Walmart - an American retail chain store told their mobile users “If you don’t have an account, go to the desktop to create an account”. How would you feel if you received this message? The ability to create an account and Log-in are critical features on a desktop and should be considered for mobile as well. These examples have been cited from Luke Wroblewski’s video ‘Mobile Experience Design Strategy’.
3. Ensure forms are succinct and easy to use across both Mobile and Desktop
Users often need to complete a form to register, get a quote, or complete a purchase on a desktop. If your website has a form, the chances are that it is absolutely necessary and therefore should be included for mobile as well. Ensure your form is easy to use by considering these tips.
- Remove unnecessary form fields: Instead of blindly re-arranging a form to fit nicely on a mobile, ask yourself – are these fields really necessary? For example, users are often required to select their credit card type, and then enter their credit card number. Credit card numbers are in fact unique to their corresponding credit card type, and this can be automatically detected – removing the need for the user to specify their credit card type before entering the credit card number. Consider if your payment checkout can support a one field entry to capture these details.
- Hide information that is secondary. If the information is not necessary for all users to see, then hide it. Allow these users to access the information via links or accordion menus for example.
Don’t show everything at once. Not all questions are relevant to all users. Design your form to ask questions in response to the answers from previous questions – this is known as Progressive Disclosure.
4. Keep all your amazing content.
Many of the 65 Best Responsive website design examples of 2014 feature websites that are information heavy. A responsive website enables just one website to be built that is displayed appropriately across any device. The following are some examples for you to be inspired by.
Google Mobile Ads Blog
‘Mobile Experience Design Strategy’ by Luke Wroblewski
‘65 best responsive website design examples 2014’ Social Driver
’87 of connected devices by 2017 will be tablets and smartphones’ Forbes