Unfortunately, passing Google’s page test gives many marketers a false sense of security. Implementing a responsive design does not mean your website is automatically mobile friendly.

Your main website may be your first and ONLY impression. If the web experience is responsive but not mobile friendly, you are losing revenue. Numerous studies have revealed that consumers switch to a company’s competitor because of a poor online experience.

3 Ways Responsive Designs Can Fail

The mobile customer experience involves a number of elements that are part of the design. This screen shot is of an insurance company’s website that deploys responsive functionality and loads quickly. But it is NOT mobile friendly. The internet is full of examples like this one. Typically, this is the result of three main issues.

Channelnet Article Image- Responsive Design Fail

First, it does not accommodate all mobile screen sizes (smartphone, tablet, e-reader). There are different options for implementing a responsive design. We recommend using the fluid grid instead of the fixed-width grid. A fluid grid can adapt the content to whatever users have in their hands because it calculates the screen dimensions in percentages.

Fixed-width layouts are formatted in pixels based on the width and height of the device screen size. Notice all the white space at the bottom of the screen shot. It’s there because the homepage will scale for the small screen, but not in an eye-pleasing way. And it fails to take advantage of all the real estate. The links and type are so small you cannot click links or read the content. When visitors try to increase the text size to read a page like this, their finger will more than likely hit a piece of content that opens a new page (see more on this issue below). This frustrates people. If visitors cannot easily accomplish a task, they are five times more likely to leave your website.

The second and biggest mistake is not understanding how mobile visitors consume content. Mobile visitors do want access to all content, just not in the same order. Every business and buying journey is different. It is important that you serve the most important information first.

That is why understanding your mobile customer’s buying journey and optimizing your site accordingly is critical. A mobile user is often looking for different information than a desktop user. For example, if prospects are on the way to your store, Pew research reports that they more than likely want to find recommendations, directions, and other location-based information, such as your hours of operation.

If they are already in your store, 82 percent of smartphone users are consulting their phones to learn more about what they want to purchase.

The third mistake is that many mobile marketers fail to design for touch. Most mobile visitors use their finger as their stylus. On mobile devices, the rule of thumb is literal. We recommend:

  • Designing buttons and links with enough space around them that users can hit the link or button with a large thumb without hitting anything else.
  • Integrating your contact information with the GPS smartphone feature. Design the link so that when users click on an address, it automatically opens their default mapping program and serves up directions.
  • Including a click-to-call or tap-to-call ability to make it easier to place a call. Within two clicks, your customers are talking to you. All they have to do is touch your phone number, and it automatically displays in the phone keypad. Then the user can just press call.
Low Conversion Rates? Check Your Responsive Design

According to Yesmail’s Q2 2016 email survey, clicks, orders and shares via mobile devices are growing year-over-year. When it comes to clicking, mobile out performs desktop. Yet mobile devices account for only 20 percent of conversions. I suspect poor customer experiences are partly to blame for the low conversion rates.

In our analysis of 10 auto finance lenders, we found that websites that were not fully optimized for mobile stagnated. When they were optimized for mobile, the click-to-open rates soared to 55 percent, a 20-point increase for some lenders. The data also showed that 46 percent of mobile users immediately left a website that was not optimized for mobile.
Mobile usage is different. Treating it like a mini-desktop is a big mistake — and a big loss of revenue.

This story was published first on November 25, 2016, and  is reprinted with permission from MarTech Advisors.