How to optimise mobile navigation for Northern Irish websites

5min Read 22nd Jun 21 James Scullion

In a modern digital marketing strategy, the website is often the backbone of a business’ online presence.  The focus must not only be on desktop navigation, but also optimised for… Read More

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In a modern digital marketing strategy, the website is often the backbone of a business’ online presence

The focus must not only be on desktop navigation, but also optimised for mobile. In fact, Statista suggests that mobile navigation accounts for approximately 50% of web traffic worldwide, and that’s excluding tablet navigation. In the first quarter of 2021, mobile devices generated 54.8% of global website traffic, consistently hovering around the 50 percent mark since the beginning of 2017.

Statcounter, meanwhile, reports a slightly higher figure of 55.68%, with web traffic from mobile getting ahead of desktop in 2017.

The graphic above shows that mobile outpaced desktop navigation 7 years ago. Despite some fluctuations, mobile seems to have a slight but consistent edge on desktop. Meanwhile, since 2015 tablet navigation is facing a slow decline.

Mobile navigation simply has become as important as desktop, if not more. This led web designers to focus hugely on mobile design and performance, adopting the best practices and providing excellent results.

In terms of Search Engine Optimisation, it is worth noting that Google is highlighting more and more the importance of mobile navigation, moving to mobile-first indexing. This means that any website that provides a poor navigation experience on mobile, will result in poor search performance.

There are many factors that make mobile navigation successful. Today we’re going to have a look on how to optimise mobile navigation for Northern Irish websites.

1. Keep it simple

This applies to all kinds of navigation, but mobile should be top priority. From a UX (User Experience) point of view, any mobile navigation has to be crystal clear and intuitive. No one likes a complex website, and from a design perspective this means focusing on the user first. 

Just providing a clean design and a clear navigation structure will definitely help to provide high quality mobile navigation of your website.

2. Show the most important pages first

A clear hierarchy will encourage the users to reach the pages you want them to visit first. What are your website’s most important pages? You should think about this, to provide greater traffic on those pages.

To achieve this goal, remember to keep your main navigation menu consistent throughout the site. For mobile navigation, the easiest solution is to provide a hamburger menu on the sticky-top element. Remember to have your logo visible, as this element will help to improve the branding on your website.

3. Account for finger and hand positioning

We’ve all been through it. You try to click on a button, but it is simply too small. Pretty frustrating, isn’t it? This is another vital point to keep in mind for mobile navigation. You must ensure the buttons on your website are fit for all users so that users feel comfortable while visiting your website.

For a comfortable UX the buttons on your website should be at least 10-12 mm. That’s why Google recommends designing mobile pages with a minimum touch target size of 48 px with a proper viewport.

Also, provide the right spacing around these elements. If you provide a call to action on your page, you want people to click on it. Touch targets (like Call To Actions) should be spaced about 32 pixels apart, both horizontally and vertically, to provide the best possible UX.

4. Provide legible content

Mobile design is pretty different from desktop, as the size and orientation of the screen require different approaches and solutions. On the mobile version of your website, there could be issues of readability. Google Search Console helps you to detect them. If any are discovered, just re-design the written content providing a bigger and legible font size. 

5. Speed matters

It is well known that if a website takes more than 3 seconds to load on mobile more than 50% of visitors will leave the page. This is critical data, from a technical point of view, mobile optimisation is harder to achieve than desktop’s. The reason is simple: on your smartphone you use the mobile data, whilst on desktop you are connected to Wi-Fi. The source is different, with different power. Anyway there are some golden, general rules you should keep in mind.

Provide optimised images

Heavy images will affect your website. Just be sure to provide well-sized images, possibly in .webp or .jpeg format.

Lazy load

Instead of loading the entire elements of the page, lazy loading assists in loading only the displayed section and delays the remaining, until it is needed by the user. This will save resources and improve the page speed.

Caching and minifying

Pretty technical here, but be sure your website has a valuable caching plugin and CSS and JS are optimised for the mobile version.

6. Be careful with Popups

Popups can be a strong digital marketing tool. But you should be careful with their mobile version, as you’d better avoid intrusive interstitials. In fact, since 2017, Google updated an interstitial penalty for mobile search: “Since screen real-estate on mobile devices is limited, any interstitial negatively impacts the user’s experience.”

That’s why you should use full-page popups for the mobile version of your website only if strictly necessary.

7. Provide search navigation

This is essential if your website has a complex structure or you have e-commerce. In many cases, users already know what they are looking for. For this reason, especially on mobile, a search box is more likely to meet the users’ needs.

There are many ways to optimise the navigation of your Northern Irish website as highlighted above. An optimised mobile version of your website will lead to an increase of conversions on your website. A website built using a UX and UI oriented web design can help your business grow in terms of both branding and website conversions

If you think your website needs to improve in terms of mobile navigation, here at Rapid Agency we deliver our bespoke SEO, Digital Ads, Web Design and Blogging services that will help to improve visits for Northern Ireland websites. Get in touch with us, we are happy to help!

5mins 22nd Jun 21 James Scullion