Why does UX matter so much on mobile?

In today’s blog, Artemis SEO Manager Kerry Jones examines website user experience (UX) and takes a closer look at why it matters so much on mobile.

Your website may be responsive, but is it truly mobile-friendly?

With Google’s switch over to mobile first indexing, user experience on mobile devices has become one of the most important factors to consider when optimising a website.

“The limited screen size on mobiles has required a complete rethink as to how content is displayed on websites. Google is adapting its search results based on how mobile pages are set up. As Google’s understanding of how users interact with mobile pages improves, an increased focus on mobile usability is absolutely fundamental for search success going forward. With the Chrome browser, Google has usability data across all pages of a website. Mobile usability is a key factor in 2019.” Justin Aldridge, Technical Director at Artemis

Mobile vs. desktop

With an increasing number of searches performed on mobile vs desktop over recent years, now is definitely the time to take action on mobile to improve it as much as possible.

You might be thinking “how does this apply to me when 80% of my traffic comes from desktop?” Well Google will still index the mobile version of your website first, meaning that desktop rankings are deciphered from mobile and if your website doesn’t provide a good mobile user experience, then your desktop rankings are likely to suffer.

 

How does Google know if a website provides a poor user experience?

Google has access to website usage and engagement statistics, including the average time users spend on page/site, page interactions and bounce rates. If these statistics aren’t as good as your competitors, then Google may favour those better performing websites.

Things to consider on mobile:

  • Does the website load quickly in Wi-Fi as well as 3G and 4G?
  • Is the header condensed for mobile? Or does it take up the whole device landing screen forcing users to scroll down to see content/images?
  • Is the menu visible on all pages? Are all key pages accessible from it?
  • Is content readable or too small?
  • Are contact and sign up forms optimised for mobile?
  • Is the search functionality visible and does it use typing suggestions?
  • Does the website make sure of read more tabs where necessary to prevent endless paragraphs of text?

There are various ways you can review your mobile usability:

  1. Firstly, perform some tasks on your mobile that you would expect your customers to do, for example, adding a product to cart and going through the checkout process, or filling out a contact form to see if there are any obvious issues.
  2. Check for any mobile usability issues reported in Google Search Console. This section will point out instances whereby clickable elements are too close together, where the content has fallen off the screen, plus much more. You can also run the website through the Google Mobile-Friendly
  3. Run a Google Lighthouse report on the website. This will provide speed improvement recommendations as well as accessibility, best practice and SEO considerations.
  4. Set up Hotjar heatmaps to monitor mobile user behaviour and see what people are clicking on and how far they are scrolling down the page. Record users to find any common pitfalls or annoyances. Take a look at our blog post on how to turn visitors into customers on Hotjar here.
  5. Review Google Analytics for high exit pages on mobile devices, then go and check these on mobile to find out why users are leaving the site.

Google’s Playbooks for retail or lead gen websites are great resources to refer to whilst reviewing the UX of a website.

If you’re interested in ensuring your website has a UX that is optimised for mobile, Artemis offers a mobile first audit.