Mobile responsive is no longer enough


BY Sam Davies


25 January 2017

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Around 4 years ago we started getting serious about our clients converting their websites to ‘mobile-friendly’ responsive designs. This ensured that their website would scale well to fit on a mobile or tablet device. The premise is simple: a smaller screen size equals more difficulty in navigating a traditional desktop design. 7 years down the track and every site we build is mobile-friendly, without exception.

Simply having a responsive website is no longer enough.

I have noticed a trend among the responsive websites we built a few years ago…high bounce rates on mobile devices.

Now the designs themselves were fine, but our focus back then was still primarily desktop. For a complicated user experience like eCommerce, we had put all the effort into desktop and responsive was essentially just a slightly scaled-back version. And when you look back at the analytics from that time it made sense. It was perhaps 20% tablet and mobile – tops. Fast forward 3 years.

This is an example from one of our clients. In 3 years their monthly mobile traffic has gone up almost 300%. They had a responsive site too so all good, right? WRONG. The bounce rate on mobile was sitting on 50%  That means that 50% of visitors left without further interaction.

That is not good for business. 13,000 visits and 6,000 of them are falling off the page. That is a LOT of potential sales down the drain. So we went back to basics – content strategy and object modelling, the core principles of all our site designs, with questions like – what are the MOST important elements on this page for a mobile user

We thought about some of the following:

  • Less content. Less is more on mobile and the copy you had written for your desktop site is too long. DISTIL
  • A more intuitive navigation. Think about your favourite apps, they are simple and quick to navigate, you do not get lost trying to post a photo on Instagram, why should your clients get lost trying to find anything on your site?
  • Deeper integration with the phone. Direct call buttons, location services, camera access, fingerprint logins, third-party app integrations.
  • Super quick Calls To Action (CTA) – The amount of times I am trying to find a phone number or simple contact details on a mobile site and have to go on a treasure hunt is ridiculous.

The result was a drastically different experience with the proof in the pudding. The bounce rate has improved by 50%. In the last month, 3,000 more customers engaged further and a good deal of those were making enquiries on products due to the calls to action being prominent.

Our attention spans are too short and the competition is too high. It is easy to have 10 tabs open on a mobile browser and if your experience is lacklustre or confusing or straight out buggy then that tab is being closed and it’s bye-bye business.

If you have seen the trend in Asia for mega apps to begin dominating the mobile landscape (WeChat) you get a glimpse of how the future markets will be interacting with their phones. Speed, reliability and integrations are key. Australia is behind the game on the net, a lot of us are stuck in a ‘set and forget’ mindstate for our digital presence. This is not the way to thrive in 2017.

It is time to pick up the pace and join the global digital economy and re-imagining your website for the reality of mobile is a great place to start!

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Sam Davies

Sam has been running a Digital Agency in some form or another for almost a decade. He loves the internet and the positive changes it has brought to the world but still loves time away from the glowing cubes. Surf, Fish, Drink, Cook, Laugh….Drink! You can follow him on Instagram @samdaviesdn and on Snapchat @digitalnoir