Google recently partnered with AnswerLab to analyze the experience of 100 mobile users. After listening to "119 hours of user complaints" this is what they have learnt:
note to reader: you can read the full document below, however it has 40 pages instead of 6 bullet points).
1. Intelligent Search is key (specially in retail sites)
Most of the participants turned to "site search to find what they were looking for" and "were quick to abandon sites that returned irrelevant search results or a large set of results that they were unable to narrow".
Top Tip: Make the use of filters, auto-complete, intelligent search results and visual calendars when showing dates.
2. Be clear with the language you use
When participants had the chance to view the "full site" (as in the Desktop version) they would move to the desktop version thinking they could be missing the full experience.
Top Tip: Give away the link for the "Desktop version" if you believe it's imperative. Phrase it so that people don't think they are missing out.
3. When going mobile go ALL in
Sites that were partially mobile optimized were harder for the participants than just using the desktop version on the mobile phone.
Top Tip: Ultimately you want to have the full user experience on the device they are using. Try using "Click-to-call" calls to action instead of complex tasks.
4. Break long forms into smaller ones
"When people reached a big long form on mobile, it was very discouraging to them. Breaking forms into pieces, being careful you don’t repeat asks for information, those thing really came out as important”.
Top Tip: Take special attention to long forms where users submit information that had errors. Be preemptive and tell them to correct them there and then. Use simple and native methods for input.
5. Allow people to use without walls
It seems people where really annoyed by having to decide on a password and create an account to see/buy products.
Top Tip: Depending how you are tracking your users, you might want to split test quicker ways of logging in (like Facebook, Google or LinkedIn integration) or allowing the user to "buy/research as a guest".
6. Help the user to continue his voyage
Many users were copying and pasting links to themselves so that they could continue their research/experience later.
Top Tip:Don't be afraid of allowing the user to continue the experience later and enable him by providing a link or share feature that he can use to continue on a different device/place/time.
You might also want to read:
- Full Guidelines from Google
- FastCo Design Summary