• Daniel Budai

Mobile Optimization: How to Create the Best Experience for Your Customers

Updated: Mar 8

Today’s topic is mobile optimization.


But why should you focus on mobile devices? What are the advantages of mobile devices besides the convenience they offer? Let’s look at a few numbers.


With over 6.3 billion smartphones users worldwide (Statista), sales from mobile devices have also been increasing. By the end of 2021, the mobile share of the total eCommerce sale reached 72.9% (via Statista). Based on these statistics from Statista, it is projected that by 2026, the number of smartphone users worldwide will increase to 7.5 billion. There’s a high possibility that you’re reading this very article from a mobile device right now!


These numbers have rapidly increased. Back in 2016, sales from mobile devices only accounted for about 52.4% of total online sales. With this kind of growth rate, it’s important to pay keen attention to phone optimization. Mobile devices are the future of eCommerce.




What is Mobile Optimization?

Mobile optimization is the practice of increasing the percentage of users who complete the desired action on a mobile website. In this article, the desired action we’ll focus on is making a purchase.


Considering the percentage of mobile sales discussed above, phone optimization is crucial to increasing conversion. The majority of purchases on your website are likely to be made from a mobile device.


There are 2 main things to look out for in mobile site optimization. These are:

  • Speed Optimization

  • Best Practices


We’ll look at each of these in more detail below.


Speed Optimization

Speed Optimization is not only important for the convenience of mobile conversion rate optimization, but it also plays a very important role in SEO. According to SEMRush, the recommended website loading speeds should be about 2 seconds. Beyond 4 seconds, and for each extra second more, the customer satisfaction is reduced by 16% and you also stand to lose 1 in 4 visitors.


For mobile devices, the situation with loading speeds is more serious than on desktop devices because of mobile resources.


So, what do you look for when considering the speed in mobile site optimization? Let’s look at the top 9 issues that affect loading speed.



Excessive DOM size

A large DOM tree can inhibit your mobile landing page optimization in 3 main ways:

  • It Includes many nodes that aren't visible when the user first loads the page, which unnecessarily increases data costs for your users and slows down load time.

  • As users and scripts interact with your page, the browser must constantly recompute the position and styling of nodes. A large DOM tree in combination with complicated style rules can severely slow down the rendering.

  • It overwhelms the memory capabilities of your users' devices, due to the large-scale interaction with JavaScript queries.



Reduce server response size

When a visitor requests to see a page, the request is transmitted to the server, and information is returned to the visitor. The process depends on multiple factors such as network transfer speeds, latency, efficiency of the application code, and performance of the server, and the longer the process takes, the longer the visitor has to wait.

It is, therefore, important to optimize the process to reduce the time the visitor has to wait for the requested information.



Reduce Javascript execution time

This refers to decreasing the amount of time spent parsing, compiling, and executing JavaScript files. There are 4 ways that Javascript execution time affects the page load speeds. These are:

  • A higher JavaScript payload/file size, which as a result, increases the bandwidth consumed.

  • JavaScript blocks the main thread, causing the browser to block all other tasks as it parses, compiles, and executes it.

  • If the page executes a lot of code before it's actually needed, it delays the point at which your page is fully interactive to user input, resulting in a slow or unresponsive experience.

  • JavaScript files that execute for a long time demand higher memory resources, which can reduce mobile site optimization if your visitor is on a mobile or low-end device.



Eliminate Render Blocking Resources

In some cases, scripts, and stylesheets prolong the time it takes for the user to see any content on their browser. This means that for a while, the users just see a white page before any content shows up.


This time needs to be reduced by prioritizing which scripts and CSS are important to the initial loading of the page, and which can be loaded later. Those that are not critical to the initial loading of the page can be loaded asynchronously.



Reduce unused CSS and JS

Unused CSS and JS scripts are more unnecessary resources that the server is supposed to process. This results in an increased loading time and use of resources for the mobile user. There are two types of unused CSS and JavaS:

  • Non-critical CSS/JavaScript - These are CSS rules or JavaScript that aren't used to render above-the-fold content but may still be used for other pages or for styling below-the-fold content.

  • Dead CSS/JavaScript - Styles or Scripts that aren't used at all anymore.

These need to be dealt with differently so that the dead CSS/JavaScript is completely eliminated. In the case of the non-critical CSS/JavaScript, the codes can be split to load only what is important for above-the-fold content before loading the rest later.


Optimize & Lazyload Images

There are 3 things you can do to optimize images for mobile conversion optimization.


  • The first step is ensuring that the images are optimized as much as possible to reduce the size while retaining the image quality.

  • The second step involves properly sizing the images to save cellular data and improve load time.

  • The 3rd step is lazy loading the images such that they only load when required instead of being loaded upfront.



Minify CSS & JavaScript

This is the process of removing extra spaces, comments and crunching variable names to reduce the file size by minimizing the code. Since a website is likely to have quite a number of JavaScript and CSS files, this process aids mobile landing page optimization by reducing loading speeds.



Serve Static Assets With An Efficient Cache Policy

Serving static assets with an efficient cache policy helps improve page load times on repeat visits by storing these files locally in the user's browser. The server providing the file can then tell the browser how long it should cache the file for. This is known as a caching policy.

Longer cache policies instruct the browser to keep these files for longer (e.g., 1 year). This is important for resources that are unlikely to change frequently, like a logo image, or page fonts.


There are several tools that can be used to check which sections of your website need speed optimization to help with mobile conversion optimization. Here are three tools you can use:


Best Practices

Now that you know what to do to optimize your website, we can move on to the section that focuses on the best practices for mobile devices.


In this section, we need to consider the following things and we’ll go through each one in much more detail:


Scrolling distance

For mobile visitors, the length of the page matters. Mobile landing page optimization means keeping your copy concise. Most users won’t scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page. If your page is short and to the point, the majority of your users will see your most important content.


For the product listings pages, A/B tests what works best for your clients between pagination and continuous scrolling to reveal more content.


Videos

With mobile optimization, videos also play a huge role in marketing your products. People pay more attention to videos and they are also more credible than images, especially when the videos are customer reviews or demos of the product being sold.


For mobile devices, implement portrait videos since they are more suitable for mobile devices. Having a full-screen video with a CTA is optimal for a mobile user experience. For Shopify stores, VideoWise is a good video shopping solution that leverages user-generated content (UGC) from your TikTok feed, Instagram reel, and Youtube videos.



Reduce the steps a user needs to take to make a purchase

The shorter the purchasing journey, the better the experience for a mobile-friendly website. This can be achieved in several ways. For example:


  • Removing the view cart page option and retaining the cart slider option, from where the users can go straight to the checkout pages.

  • Implementing a one-page checkout solution.

  • Introduce autocomplete for important fields on checkout pages, This reduces time and effort the user needs to fill in the required details on a small device.



Consider implementing a one-page checkout solution

As explained above, having a one-page checkout solution is one of the steps in reducing the customer purchase journey. However, the page can be optimized further by:

  • Ensuring that you accept payment methods from the most common payment platforms. For instance, according to Statista, the top 3 accepted payment methods in the US are VISA, Master Card, and American Express.

  • Besides these 3 accepted payment methods, digital wallets like PayPal, Google Pay, Apple Pay are also increasingly popular and you also need to consider them for mobile devices.


Search module

The search module also needs to be considered for a mobile-friendly website. This is important so that the mobile user gets what they are searching for within the fewest clicks possible. There are several ways that this can be achieved:


  • Implement autocomplete. This helps users since they don’t have to type in a complete word to start receiving suggestions.

  • Make the search a full-text search. If a user keys in an incorrect word, they will still get suggestions that are related to the search word.

  • The search module should show information such as product image, product name, price, review, and CTA. This helps the visitor make a decision on what exactly they need even without having to visit the search results page. This can be implemented on the search page such that the results are seen as the user keeps searching


Filters optimized for mobile

Besides the search module, another important tool to consider for phone optimization is the filter tool on the product listings page. Considering the screen space for mobile devices, it’s important to optimize the product listings and search results page filters to provide the best user experience.


This can be achieved by:

  • Introducing several filter options that are relevant to the website. Some of these are:

  • Brand

  • Material

  • Color

  • Average Rating

  • Price

  • Size

  • Availability

  • Make the filter module sticky so that it is always visible to the users, even as they scroll further down the page.

  • Keep the filter labels short, simple, and free of jargon.



Sticky menus

To make the menu bar mobile-friendly, always make sure that it is sticky. This gives mobile users easy access to the menu and CTAs or other important information on the menu bar at all times, regardless of how much further down the page the visitors scroll.


Floating CTAs

Make use of floating CTAs on the product and checkout pages. On mobile devices, these CTAs will always be above the fold and within reach of the user.


Trust

Make it easy for mobile visitors to access the privacy, refund, and return policy pages. These links can be added at the footer (not hidden behind a drop-down menu), checkout pages, just below the payment details section, on the menu bar, and on the about us page.


Above the fold

Ensure that the most important content is displayed above the fold for mobile-friendly website design. For instance,


  • On the home page, have a hero banner, a CTA, USPs, Awards, or Media Mentions above the fold.

  • On the product details page, have the product name, rating, price, image gallery, and a floating add-to-cart button.



Blog pages

The blog articles are a good source for generating traffic, especially if they are optimized for search. With this much traffic to the blog pages, it is important to take advantage of that traffic direct visitors to the shop section of the website. This can be done in two ways, besides the collapsed menu option.


  • Have links to specific products within the blog articles.

  • A floating CTA leading to the shop page

  • Make the blog content comfortable to read (this also applies to the content on the product pages). Here is how:

  • Use images after a few paragraphs of content

  • Ensure that a paragraph has no more than 3 - 4 sentences

  • Use bullet points

  • Ensure there is enough space between paragraphs



Category pages view

Provide different views for the category pages e.g. list view, thumbnails. This provides flexibility to the mobile users to select the kind of view they are most comfortable with, based on the device size.


Click areas

A mobile-friendly website design avoids tiny click areas that are stressful to click on. Examples of these click areas are CTAs, pagination arrows, left and right arrows on image galleries, or even links.


Image gallery

On mobile devices, optimize the image gallery by:


  • Using images that are neither too tiny nor too large that they fill the above-the-fold content.

  • Ensure that the user has a way to tell if the gallery has more images. This helps manage their expectations

  • Make the gallery zoomable on double-tap.

As much as we have highlighted a few areas of mobile conversion optimization in the Best Practices section above, it’s very important to consider going through the whole CRO process. In this case, what I highlighted above falls under the heuristics analysis step of the CRO process. The most important step is the A/B testing step. However, this step on its own without data is not optimal.



Conclusion

Here is a recap of what we have learned so far.


There are 2 important sections to consider in mobile optimization, these are: 1) Website loading speeds

2) UX best practices.


In both of these cases, we cater to the website loading faster for the mobile user, resulting in improved speeds, conservation of resources, and an improved user experience.


Making the users’ search & navigation experience, and reducing the length of the checkout process play a key role in reducing the drop-off rate along the shopping funnel and also improving the eCommerce conversion rate.






FAQs

Why is mobile optimization important?

With over 6.3 billion smartphones users worldwide by 2021 (Statista), sales from mobile devices have also been increasing. By the end of 2021, the mobile share of the total eCommerce sale reached 72.9%. This growth rate necessitates the optimization of mobile devices to take advantage of the benefits of sales on mobile devices.


How to increase mobile conversion rate?

The mobile conversion rate can be increased by optimizing the website loading speed and applying the best practices for the improvement of the mobile UX. Along with this, A/B testing the ideas shared in the best practices section along with data analysis goes a long way in getting the desired results.


What is mobile optimization?

Mobile optimization is the practice of increasing the percentage of users who complete a desired action on a website.


Why do we need optimization?

We need optimization since it helps us improve the user experience on our websites, which results in an increase in the conversion rate. This means that out of the existing pool of clients, we get more conversions and as a result also increase our sales revenue.


What is the purpose of optimization?

The purpose of optimization is to improve the user experience of the website to help users find what they need, learn as much as possible, and finally take the desired action.