25 Google Tactics To Build A Better Mobile Web Site

Mobile users are goal-driven. They launch an application or Web browser to search for something specific. When they don't find relevant information, they close the session. What does it take to build a better mobile Web site?

Google partnered with AnswerLab to study more than 100 mobile users completing conversion-focused tasks across a range of Web sites. The results helped Google develop these 25 principles for mobile site design.

The topics range from home page and site navigation, site search, commerce and conversion to form entry, and usability and form factor. Google developed the principles from the study's insights. Search marketing is not confined to engines. Site search plays a major role in success. 

Participants in Chicago and San Francisco spent about 119 hours walking through tasks performed on their own iOS and Android phones during in-person sessions with researchers. Conversion tasks, such as making a purchase, were completed for each site. Participants voiced their thoughts as they carried each out. Researchers rated findings, based on site experience, task success and logged errors.

Make site search visible; ensure results are relevant; and implement filers to improve what the consumer wants to see, not what you think they want to see. Not all consumers searching on a retail Web site want to see the editor's top picks from brand sponsors. They want to make that decision themselves.

Make it easy for consumers on small screens by incorporating smart search features, like auto-complete or spelling corrections. Filters also help because swiping through five pages to find the product gets annoying. Aside from improving site search, commerce and conversions have become the most important mobile site design principles to keep in mind. Consumers want to complete the journey in their own time and on their own terms. 

Here's how to put site visitors in control. Put consumers in control before they commit. Placing registration gates early in the process will turn off some consumers. The study shows that participants become frustrated at sites that demand early registration. Consumers want to explore before offering personal information. Many sites like Nordstrom or Anthropologie offer the option for checkout as a guest or sign-in to gain rewards.

Keep calls-to-action visible and menus short and make it easy to get back to the home page. The small screen requires marketers to feature the primary call to action in the most proximate place. Make sure promotions don't interfere with navigation on the site.

I have listed principles from three sections, but marketers can download the white paper here.

"Mobile Shopper" photo from Shutterstock.

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