What makes a good mobile friendly website?

Consumers increasingly rely on mobile friendly websites to research and make purchases, which makes it more important than ever for companies to have an effective mobile presence. But what makes a good mobile site? To answer this question, Google and AnswerLab undertook an intensive research study examining how a range of users interacted with a diverse set of mobile sites.

The study was held through 119 hour-long usability sessions in Chicago and San Francisco where participants were asked to perform key tasks on their own smartphones. Both Android and iOS users were included. The common thread in all sections was that mobile users tend to be very goal oriented – they expect to be able to get what they need from a mobile site easily, immediately, and on their own terms.

The resulting findings produced a range of best practice design principles that were then grouped into five sections:

  1. Home page and site navigation
    The mobile homepage should focus on connecting users to the content they’re looking for so keep calls to action front and center. Also keep menus short, make it easy to get back to the home page and don’t let promotions steal the show.
  2. Site search
    Site search is vital for helping mobile users find what they’re looking for in a hurry.
  3. Commerce and conversion
    The customer journey is getting more complex, and users expect to convert on their own terms.
  4. Form entry
    Whether it’s making a purchase, getting a quote or joining an email list, your user’s conversion experience should be as seamless as possible.
  5. Usability & form factor
    Companies that make users pinch and zoom to view web content greatly increase the risk of losing customer interest quickly, mobile users will notice and be delighted by the small things you do for them to enhance their experience.

Source: Google [abridged]