3. Form follows function

Let’s be honest: smartphones and tablets are not great for data entry. Input areas are often too small, options too close together, and moving between fields a pain (my kingdom for a ‘tab’ key).

Make sure your radio buttons work, or replace them with dropdowns which are so much easier than free form fields. Keep data entry to a minimum by removing any non-mandatory fields; a long form is likely to have higher abandonment on mobile devices.

You may have to balance your priorities and sacrifice the value of information for increased conversion, just for this audience. When you rely on high average order values or meaningful leads, optimisation of forms based on devices could really pay dividends for your business.

4. Emphasise appropriately

So often the content and elements that should be obvious to users on mobile devices aren’t – many companies’ traditional websites are plagued with this problem. To drive business you should emphasise and prioritise things such as store locators or telephone numbers on tablets and mobiles. Your visitor’s goal may be just to research and then get assistance, not buy.

If you want to understand the impact of making a telephone number more prominent on your mobile homepage, test it. You can target a unique telephone number and then look at the call centre data to determine whether sales, leads or whatever your key metric is outweighs the expense resulting in the increased call volumes.

Exposing your unique selling points more prominently could steal you a customer right out of your competitor’s high street store – 70% of people use their mobile phone while in a store. Consider a scenario where a woman is browsing dresses in your competitor’s store.

They decide to check prices elsewhere and come across the same product on your site. Your price is slightly better, but they are having a devil of a time figuring out what your delivery prices are and give up. Opportunity lost. Why oh why didn’t you make it clear you offered free delivery! Giving the user the information they needed on the right device is paramount.

Final thought

In the digital space, it’s impossible not to bump into a ‘tablet’ headline or ‘mobile’ headline. We are using these devices in our everyday lives and they have become critical to every business. Yet there is still a severe lack of true mobile and tablet site testing.

The time ahead will prove to be interesting and full of embarrassing predictions. Testing is the greatest way to learn what works for your mobile and tablet user base, while minimising risk for your business. And if that’s not enough for you, you get to be at the forefront of understanding how visitors behave on these devices as the power of mobile technologies extends.

I hope you enjoyed my thoughts on embarrassing predictions and mobile and tablet optimisation.