How To Conduct A Mobile Website Audit For Your Startup
As technology grows, more and more people are starting to use mobile. For instance, there are web versions of Instagram and Wechat, but people would rather take out their phone to check their social media even if they are right in front of their computer. This shows that the internet age is changing and how important a mobile website is. A lot of startups do not have mobile friendly websites, in fact a lot of them just slap on a responsive theme and call it a day. Below is a short and straight forward guide on how to perform a mobile website audit for your startup.
Mobile or Desktop?
When you enter in your website in your mobile’s browser does it redirect to the mobile version of the site or the desktop version of the site? This is important because most of the time you aren’t aware of the fact that it is directing to the desktop version. For example, a simple blog hosted on WordPress might have a theme that is responsive and mobile friendly, but the admin did not check the settings for the mobile version to be implemented. The desktop version can come out all chunky and cause problems for your customer. The first step to a mobile website audit should be checking to see if it actually directs to the correct version.
In addition to that, you might want to have a desktop option on your site. Usually these links are on the bottom of the page. The reason for this is because sometime the mobile version of the site just doesn’t come out well enough for certain phones.
Whether it’s a demo video for your product or a blog post that includes a video, you need to make sure you check this as apart of your mobile website audit. For me, I noticed that video players crash quite often when I visit a website. This isn’t my phones problem because the same video will work on another mobile website.
Play through the videos on your site to test and see if they load. Does it automatically adjust to the screen? There’s a lot of things to technical issues that can occur with video. In addition to that make sure that your video frame size is sized correct. You should keep in mind that the user will have a smaller screen than their normal desktop. Keep that in mind when performing a mobile website audit.
The best player for mobile website is a HTML 5 player or an embedded youtube/vimeo player. They both have functions that will automatically help your site work more responsively.
Design is an important part of your mobile website audit. In fact, 80% of the regular mobile users do not care about how technical it is for you to put together a stunning mobile website. They don’t understand the process and only care about how well it functions and how it looks. Some key design points to pay attention to:
- Does your title appear in 1 line or 2 line? Is it evenly placed?
- Is the sidebar loading or is it a single column responsive theme?
- Are there any popups? (if you are using a popup plugin, you should watch out for this because some users cannot close their popup on the mobile version like they can on the desktop version)
- How do the images look like? Are they too wide? Getting cut off?
- Is there a static navbar or a separate button for it?
Use this site to learn more about how mobile websites work.
When doing a mobile website audit, check for the flash plugins. Try to remove as many things that use flash as possible. Flash have always been a huge concern when it comes to mobile website. Flash doesn’t load properly on iphones and android. Most sites have alternative versions of players to play their videos that are flash related. Try to eliminate this out of your mobile site as much as possible.
You want the users to have an option to search up articles on your mobile site. Can the user find the search box easily? For the desktop version, you might have the search bar located in the sidebar, but what about your mobile site? If the search bar is on the top of the page, can the user easily navigate to find it? Having a good search bar will reduce your mobile site’s bounce rate and it will help to keep users engaged on your site. Here’s a simple infographic from Wired:
Testing Mobile Website
When doing a mobile website audit, try your best to test on as many devices as possible. For example, a tablet might not look the same as an iphone and an iphone might not look the same as a samsung galaxy s5. The screen size is different so you need to be prepared to conduct a mobile website audit on all devices.
Google webmaster tools is one of the best mobile website audit tool you can use. The Google webmaster tool will crawl your website frequently and tell you if it runs into any errors. Keep a close eye on the health of your site from the Google webmaster analytic/health section of the tool. In Google Webmaster Tools you can also go to the Health > Crawl Errors report and choose the Mobile tag to identify which of your site pages are giving errors to the Google crawler.
Check for the loading speed of your mobile website. For example a blog that I frequent, loads a lot faster on desktop than their mobile. The whole mobile version seems clunky to me. What I mean by that is that the images are all over the place and the loading speed is much slower due to the pictures. Sometime the whole site doesn’t load until the pictures load.
This can be a huge problem for regular users. People might get frustrated over the loading speed of your mobile website and decide not to visit it on their mobile phone again. Due to the limited CPU capabilities of mobile devices, the high round-trip times of mobile networks, and the rapid growth of mobile usage, it is even more critical to understand and optimize for mobile performance than for the desktop. Again Google provides an excellent tool called PageSpeed Insights that will help you determine the speed of your site. All you have to do is enter your URL and the tool will automatically help you generate a report. What really cool about this tool is that the Pagespeed Insight will tell you how to fix your errors instead of just giving you a score.