According to the latest KPCB mobile technology trends by Mary Meeker, mobile digital media time in the U.S. is now higher compared to desktop, 51% and 42% respectively. As businesses adapt their mobile marketing to capture and engage more mobile users, it is essential to understand why and how these users interact with mobile devices differently than the traditional desktop or laptop computer.

The Mobile User

Contrary to popular belief, the mobile user is not always “on-the-go.” Instead, new data shows that 68% of mobile activity happens from the user’s home. And unlike desktop users, mobile users can – and most often do – easily and habitually carry their devices with them throughout the day (75% even admit to using their smartphone in the bathroom). This gives businesses constant access to customers, 24/7, in their living room, kitchen, bedroom, and, of course, bathroom.

More Searching

Earlier this year, Google confirmed that it is now serving more searches on smartphones vs. desktop in the United States. To adjust accordingly, the search engine giant is offering smartphone-optimized ad formats, a tool to see how a site appears on mobile and has even tweaked its search algorithm to favor mobile-optimized websites. Clearer than ever is the necessity for businesses to offer a mobile-optimized website for their customers or risk being left behind in search.

More Sharing

The mobile web is twice as social as desktop, meaning users are twice as likely to click and share content from their smartphone than from their desktop. Mobile link sharing increases clicks, visits, brand impressions and engagement. It creates a domino effect in which the content (and brand) gets shared via network-to-network beyond the business’s initial reach. Combine easy, integrated social sharing with relevant content and businesses can reap the many benefits of mobile link sharing.

Top Mobile Uses

The majority of mobile users access their device for what BBDO and AOL call “me time” for relaxation and entertainment. Following social at second, the third most common mobile activity is shopping for a product or service. Others of the seven most common mobile activities include: “discovery” of news and information, “preparation” for upcoming activities and “self-expression” through hobbies and interests.

It’s important to understand that a mobile website or app is not often used exclusively for only one of these activities. For example, a salon’s mobile app can be used to browse new hairstyles (“me-time”), read about seasonal trends (“discovery”) or book a service (“shopping”). By incorporating all or many of these uses for mobile, customers will continue to return to a business’s mobile site or app throughout many of the different activity phases.

The Mobile User Experience

After understanding when, where and why mobile users are using their devices, it is important to understand how these users interact with their devices to create an effective mobile user experience. These interactions tell website and app developers where to place a button, if that button should be swipe or push, and vertical or horizontal, for example.

Key elements to examine for an effective mobile user experience include:

  • Navigation: Traditional desktops have enough space and functionality for robust menu options and more complex navigation, including hovering selections. Due to space limitations and user behavior, this is a not a luxury afforded to mobile. Mobile users frequently only use one hand (70%) for navigation, so it needs to be simple, clear and easy-to-use.
  • Designed for Touch: On a traditional desktop, users interact primarily through the keyboard or mouse. On mobile devices, the primary mode of interaction is touch. The mobile website or app should be functional for a variety of fingers in all shapes and sizes with varied amounts of pressure. Careful planning is necessary for all buttons, forms and other elements to respond correctly to the TouchEvent.
  • Mobile-Only Features: Unlike desktops, mobile devices offer new functionality, including “Tap To Call,” GPS, and easy uploading and sharing of photos and videos. Instead of simply duplicating a desktop website, businesses should evolve their mobile site or app to take advantage of the new activities available to their mobile user.

We’ve already done our homework, so leave the thinking to us. Request a demo and we’ll show you how to easily create and manage your mobile website or app today.