Evaluating Your Mobile Website

How are things for people who visit your organization’s website on their tablets or smartphones? If you have a great responsive website that was built recently, or a special mobile version of your site, it’s probably good. If you have an older website, it’s probably pretty bad.

Before you decide what to do about it, you need to find out exactly what you’re dealing with.

We’re going to share the bad mobile example of our lab site, FreshPlans. We launched FreshPlans, a free K-12 teacher resource site focusing on 21st century skills, back in 2010 and have never updated the design at all, though we update the content. If your website is as old as FreshPlans, you will probably see results similar to ours.

Step 1 is to find out just what your mobile visitors are seeing. Hubspot’s Device Lab is a very helpful tool for this. It shows us that our lab site is not offering smartphone users a good experience:


You can see a fairly accurate image for a number of different devices. We compared the screenshots given with what we actually saw and found some differences, but it’s close enough for you to get a good idea of the experience you’re offering your visitors. They’ll also give you estimates of the percentages of the different devices visitors are using, though they’re showing fairly even distribution for all devices, which certainly is not true for FreshPlans.

Next, check to see how many mobile visitors you have. We might have begun with this, but we don’t want to see few mobile visits and decide it’s unimportant. We may get fewer mobile visits because the mobile experience is so poor — this appears to be true for FreshPlans. The iPad, which offers a fairly good experience for our visitors, brings far and away the most visits among mobile devices.

Chances are good, especially given our known audience, that we are missing out an lots of visits because we don’t offer a good mobile experience. Maybe you are, too.

Next, have a look at the behavior of your mobile visitors.

We used the Users Flow report in Google Analytics and filtered out the Mobile and Tablet segment:


Out of nearly 4,000 visitors, only 235 clicked to a second page and only 140 hardy souls made it to a third. Now, we know that most visitors arrive at FreshPlans looking for something very specific — lesson plans on earthquakes, for example — and once they have what they want, they’re through. However, we would certainly want our visitors to check out more of the site, and those who come via desktop do.

We have to conclude that we are not serving our mobile visitors well. FreshPlans is a community service project, but if we were selling something there, we would certainly be unhappy with our results.

If you’re selling something at your website check out your conversion rate, too. It’s not surprising to see a lower conversion rate for mobile — plenty of people would rather fill out a form or make a purchase on their desktop computers, which is one reason so much ecommerce shopping takes place at work. But it’s worth a look — and you should look for changes. If your mobile conversion rate has fallen and cart abandonment has risen, you may need to improve the process. People used to be more tolerant of hard-to-use mobile sites than they are now.

Finally, think about your user mode. “User mode” is a term Google uses to describe the mental state of mobile users. They find that mobile users tend to fall into three groups:

  • repetitive
  • bored
  • urgent

Repetitive users are those that regularly check something, whether it’s Twitter or sports scores. Bored users are waiting in your waiting room or sitting in a boring meeting, looking for something to entertain them or to give them some productive time. Urgent users are looking for directions or phone numbers or some other immediately needed piece of information.

The pages your mobile visitors go to (check that in your web analytics) can give you insight into which mode they’re in. You may also know from the information you have about your users — are you an emergency clinic? Then your mobile visitors are more likely to be in urgent need of information than bored and looking for fun.

Once you’ve gone through these steps, you will probably be fully aware of how your mobile visitors are doing when it comes to your website.

We can see that FreshPlans urgently needs a design update. How about your site?







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