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What Mobile Users Want

Posted by Michael Bloch in web development (Saturday September 29, 2012 )

A survey of 1,088 US adult smartphone Internet users in July 2012 on behalf of Google reveals what mobile users want – and there’s no real surprises.

Just over two-thirds of mobile users said they are more likely to buy from a mobile friendly site and 61% said they would scoot quickly from a site if they couldn’t easily find what they want.

Nearly half said they were frustrated when they visited a site that wasn’t mobile friendly and the same number said if a site didn’t work well on their smartphones, it made them feel like the company didn’t care about their business.

And the statistics go on.

Really, these results aren’t much different to the opinions of people accessing sites on a desktop or notebook computer; they are basically the same themes. I think what the results are showing though is increased expectations with regard to mobile compatibility than even just a year or two ago. People are becoming less willing to struggle with a site while viewing it on their handheld device.

Like it or hate it (who needs more work?), the need to create a mobile/handheld friendly web site is moving beyond something that can be put off.

The same goes for email as well. In a June post, I mentioned that handheld devices now make up about 35% of email opens; a figure that surprised me greatly.

Statistics for this month for one of my non-tech sites shows around 19% of visits were folks using handheld devices – so it’s a significant number considering the nature of the site.

So how do you tell if your site is considered mobile-friendly? Well, you could hire expensive consultants or use a stack of other resources on the issue, but as most of us don’t have the time or cash to delve that deeply, a quick and dirty way of getting an idea is through Google Analytics.

Simply click on the Mobile option under Audience, select overview and GA will show you the number of mobile visits vs non-mobile. Take a look at the average visit duration, page views and bounce rate. If they are significantly worse than your non-mobile results (which you’ll be able to see directly above those stats); you may have a serious problem worth investigating.

If you have a bit more time on your hands, also have a look under the Devices option – you’ll be able to see similar breakdowns for various handheld devices. If one is performing particularly badly, there could be a problem with that device in terms of how your site works. Then you need to make a decision if the number of visits you’re receiving from users of that device is high enough to warranty further investigation.


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