7 Steps To A User-Friendly Mobile Website

Attract on-the-go shoppers with a mobile site that’s user-friendly and easy to navigate.
July 07, 2011

Look around on the train, in the coffee shop or in the lunch line at the deli, and you’ll see people on their smartphones checking sports scores, catching up on Facebook—or shopping. Consumers are increasingly shopping via their smartphones; in fact, a recent AT&T survey found that four in 10 small businesses said that customers found their website through a mobile device.*

Your company’s website may work just fine on a computer screen, but chances are it doesn’t perform well on a mobile device. Use these tips to make your site mobile-friendly:

1. Keep navigation simple

Keep your homepage focused on the information that customers are likely to need most while they’re on the go, such as your phone number, address, hours and directions. Also make sure links and buttons are large enough for touchscreen users to click through easily, and place the search box and contact info link high on the page so visitors don’t have to hunt for them.

2. Limit scrolling

Navigating from left to right to find information can be frustrating on a desktop site—never mind on a smaller smartphone screen. Arrange your content in a single, vertical column so viewers only need to scroll down to find what they are looking for. If you have a lot of information to present, consider using a collapsible menu, which allows users to tap open the content they are interested in and hide the rest—Wikipedia does this with its mobile Web pages.

3. Use small images and graphics

Your regular website may be filled with lots of big, pretty pictures, but you may need to rethink that strategy when creating your mobile site. Having too many images can significantly lengthen page load time and increase the odds that visitors will abandon your site. Choose small images or resize existing images from your full website so they load faster on mobile devices. You can always let visitors see larger images by linking to your full site.

4. Minimize keystrokes

Make your mobile-friendly site as simple as you possibly can. Avoid long forms and anything else that requires a lot of typing, and if your site is e-commerce-enabled, ask only for the details necessary to complete the transaction. Consider having users register on your full site first, so their payment details are stored and they only have to enter a username and password to complete a purchase on the mobile site. Whatever you do, make it easy for visitors to find your phone number so they can simply call you to place an order.

5. Highlight a call to action

Make it easy for your visitors to do the things you want them to. Want them to connect with a representative? Offer a click-to-chat feature. Want more newsletter subscribers? Make your sign-up button prominent.

6. Link to your full website

Some of your mobile site visitors may want the option of clicking through to your full site, whether to find a section not included in the mobile version or to see a larger product image. Include a link in the footer, where visitors expect to find it.

7. Get help if you need it

You may be thinking, “This all sounds great, but how do I actually build a mobile site?” There are several do-it-yourself tools that make it easy, or you can use a professional developer. AT&T’s mobile website hosting service lets you convert your full site to a mobile site that’s compatible with all major smartphones, and with no technical know-how required. Many tools even allow you to keep track of your mobile website traffic and visitors.

After you build your mobile website, test it on various mobile devices to be sure visitors will have a smooth experience, and keep it up to date.

*The AT&T SMB eCommerce Survey was conducted online among a representative sample of 310 principals of companies with 1 to 100 employees in the United States by Bredin Business Information Inc. between November 8 and 15, 2010.