6. Mobile User Experience (UX)

​As a marketer, business owner or optimiser, it’s easy to fall into the trap of only viewing your website on your office laptop or large-screen desktop.

However, it’s worth bearing in mind that a big chunk of users interact with your site on smartphones and tablets – while they’re commuting, waiting for the kettle to boil, or watching TV. In fact, around half of all website traffic is now mobile.

And, in Western Europe, almost 40% of transactions now occur on portable devices.

UX intro

" The things that make users passionate about products is incredibly simple, it’s great experiences. When people have a good or great experience with products, they’re more likely to be passionate about brands. It always starts out simple. Until we, as businesses, overcomplicate it.

Mobile Five loves to simplify the overcomplicated and to make communication between brands and users as simple as possible "


Anna Nalbandian - Managing Director Mobile Five

​What makes a good mobile site?

Consumers increasingly rely on the mobile web 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 partnered with AnswerLab to research how a range of users interacted with a diverse group of mobile sites.

From this research, Google established 25 principles of mobile site design to help companies build mobile sites that delight customers and drive conversions. Review all 25 principles below, grouped into five categories.

Home page and site navigation

Keep calls to action front and center

Make secondary tasks available through menus or “below the fold” (the part of the webpage that can’t be seen without scrolling down).


Keep Menus short and sweet

Mobile users don’t have the patience to scroll through a long list of options to find what they want. Reorganise your menu to use as few items as possible, without sacrificing usability.

Make it Easy to get back to the home page

Users expect to go back to the homepage when they tap the logo in the top-left of a mobile page, and they become frustrated when it isn’t available or doesn’t work.


Large app install interstitials

(e.g., full-page promotions that hide content and prompt users to install an app) annoy users and make it difficult to perform tasks. In addition to annoying users, sites that use interstitials may see a negative impact to their search rankings.

UX 5 & 6

Site search

Make site search visible

Users looking for information usually turn to search, so the search field should be one of the first things they see on your pages. Don’t hide the search box in a menu.

UX 7 & 8

Ensure site search results are relevant

Users don’t scan through multiple pages of results to find what they’re looking for. Make life easier on users by auto-completing queries, correcting misspellings, and suggesting related queries. Rather than reinventing the wheel, consider robust products like Google Custom Search.

UX 9& 10

Implement filters to narrow results

Study participants rely on filters to find what they’re looking for, and abandon sites that do not have effective filters. Place filters above search results, and help users by displaying how many results will be returned when a specific filter is applied.

UX 11 & 12

Guide users to better site search results

For sites with diverse customer segments, ask a few questions before presenting the search box, and use the customer’s responses as search query filters to ensure that users get results from the most relevant segment.


Commerce and conversion

Let users explore before they commit

Study participants were frustrated by sites that require upfront registrations to view the site, especially when the brand was unfamiliar. Although customer information may be integral to your business, asking for it too early may result in fewer registrations.

UX 14 & 15

Let users purchase as guests 

Study participants viewed guest checkouts as “convenient”, “simple”, “easy”, and “quick”. Users are annoyed by sites that force them to register for an account when making a purchase, especially when the benefit of an account is unclear.


Use existing information to maximize convenience

Remember and pre-fill preferences for registered users. Offer familiar, third-party checkout services for new users.


Use click-to-call buttons for complex tasks

On devices with calling capabilities, click-to-call links enable users to make a phone call by simply tapping a link.

On most mobile devices the user receives a confirmation before the number is dialed, or a menu is presented asking the user how the number should be handled.


Form entry

Choose the simplest input

Use the most appropriate input type for each scenario. Use elements like datalist to provide suggested values for a field.

Streamline information entry

Automatically advance to the next field when a user presses Return. In general, the fewer taps the user must perform, the better.

Clearly label start and end dates.

Users should not need to leave a site and check a calendar app just to schedule a date.


Minimize form errors with labeling and real-time validation 

Label inputs properly and validate input in real-time.  


Design efficient forms

Take advantage of autofill so that users can easily complete forms with pre-populated data. Pre-fill fields with information you already know.

For example, when retrieving shipping and billing addresses, try to use requestAutocomplete or enable users to copy their shipping address to their billing address (or vice versa).

Usability and form factor

Optimize your entire site for mobile

Use a responsive layout that changes based on the size and capabilities of the user’s device. Study participants found sites with a mix of desktop and mobile-optimized pages even harder to use than desktop-only sites.

Don't make users pinch-to-zoom

Users are comfortable with scrolling sites vertically, but not horizontally. Avoid large, fixed-width elements. Use CSS media queries to apply different stylings for different screens. Don’t create content that only displays well at a particular viewport width. Sites that force users to horizontally scroll fail the Google Mobile-Friendly Test, which may negatively impact their search rankings.

Make product images expandable

Retail customers expect sites to let them view high resolution closeups of products. Study participants got frustrated when they weren’t able to see what they were buying.


Tell users which orientation works best

Study participants tended to stay in the same screen orientation until something prompted them to switch. Design for both landscape and portrait, or encourage users to switch to the optimal orientation. Make sure that your important calls-to-action can be completed even if the users ignore the suggestion to switch orientations.


Avoid "full site" labeling

When study participants saw an option for a "full site" (i.e., desktop site) versus a "mobile site", they thought the mobile site lacked content and chose the "full" one instead, directing them to the desktop site.

Be clear why you need a user's location

Users should always understand why you’re asking for their location. Study participants trying to book a hotel in another city became confused when a travel site detected their location and offered hotels in their current city instead.

Leave location fields blank by default, and let users choose to populate them through a clear call-to-action like “Find Near Me”.