Speeding your way towards user engagement and conversion

As trends move towards mobile-first engagement, site speed optimisation becomes critical.

In its latest report, Net Affinity offers insights for travel brands on optimising the design of their mobile and desktop-sites for greater user engagement and conversions.

The top tip: keep the site lite.

Net Affinity reports that mobile traffic surpassed desktop traffic in the third quarter of 2015 and cut through the 50% traffic mark in the third quarter of last year.

60% of travel searches were performed on mobile devices in 2016

Conversion rates have grown by 88% on mobile travel sites. Net Affinity states:

“Booking abandonment on mobile represent billions in lost revenue annually, and there is still a long road ahead for creating a seamless online checkout experience.”

But, whether visiting on a desktop or on a mobile device, users are put off by slow websites.

  • 47% of users expect a site to load in two seconds or less
  • 40% of users abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load
  • 79% of users dissatisfied with website performance are less likely to buy from the same site again
  • 44% of users will tell their friends about an unpleasant experience online
  • 46% of people say that waiting for sites to load is their least favourite thing about shopping on handheld devices
  • 60% of users say they have encountered a problem while browsing on mobile in the last 12 months

While responsive website design makes websites adaptable, some are moving towards a mobile-first design strategy.

Mobile first forces website designers to make tough decisions about what content is included in the website, with structured a content hierarchy.

But the constraints of devices require a lean design discipline which some designers may lack.

Some may also find it difficult to design for small platforms and scale up for desktop applications.

Net Affinity suggests that the best way to overcome these design deficiencies is to focus on lean principles which apply to mobile or desktop sites:

  • Add text labels to icons, so that their meaning is clear to visitors of varying degrees of tech know-how.
  • Use fewer images and compress these so that they load quickly.
  • Don’t add interactive maps. These can slow the site down. Instead, use a map button or a small map image which links out to the Google Maps app.
  • Keep videos on YouTube, not on your website. YouTube videos can be embedded.
  • Keep forms short, limit fields to the key information required to add visitors to mailing lists or to process bookings.
  • Make desktop content mobile-friendly. Net Affinity says that people read about 60% of the text on a page. Find the 40% excess and cut that out. Complement leaner content with formatting that helps readers scan the text more quickly. These include titles, bullets, and key information in bold. Ensure the call to action is clear and stands out; for example, by including a ‘Book Now’ button.

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