In February of 2015, I began working on an iOS app called Air Lookout. The goal of the app was to simplify and remove any obfuscation of air quality information. After over a year of working nights and weekends, the total net income since it launched in 2016 has been less than $1,000. Even with those numbers, I would relive every hour of work.
The one thing that I can’t place a monetary value on is how the experience of creating Air Lookout has completely changed my mind on the process of design and development for every project I have worked on since.
Editor’s Note: Welcome to this month’s web development update. It’s actually the first one that we publish, and from now on, Anselm will summarize the most important things that happened over the past month in one handy list for you. So that you’re always up to date with what’s going on in the web community. Enjoy!
Today, I’d like to begin this update with a question I’m asking myself quite often, and that was fueled by the things I read lately: Where do we see our responsibility, where do we see other people’s responsibilities?
In its move to patch a security hole as part of the iOS 10.3 release, Apple has introduced (yet) another redirection mechanism that developers must handle when attempting to implement mobile deep-link routing (i.e. the mechanism to route users to a specific page inside a mobile app, rather than the App Store or app home page).
This redirection instance has introduced additional friction to the app download and reopening process, and data shows that it has decreased conversion rates on iOS 10.
One lazy Sunday evening, I decided to order Thai delivery for dinner. It was a Green-Curry-and-Crispy-Wonton kind of night.
A quick google search from my iPhone turned up an ad for a food delivery app. In that moment, I wanted to order food fast, without having to dial a phone number or speak to a human. So, I clicked.
From the ad, I was taken to the company’s mobile website. There was a call-to-action to “Get the App” below the fold, but I didn’t want to download a whole app for this one meal. I would just order from the mobile site.
Dun, dun, duuuun.
Over the next minute, I had one of the most frustrating ordering experiences of my life. Labeless hamburger menus, the inability to edit my order, and an overall lack of guidance through the ordering process led me to believe I would never be able to adjust my order from ‘Chicken Green Curry’ to ‘Prawn Green Curry’.
After 60 seconds of struggling, I gave up, utterly defeated.
I know this wasn’t a life-altering tragedy, but it sure was an awful mobile experience. And I bet you have had a similar experience in the last 24 hours.
Let’s think about this for a minute:
This company paid good money for my click
I was ready to order online: I was their customer to lose
I struggled for about 30 seconds longer than most mobile users would have
I gave up and got a mediocre burrito from the Mexican place across the street.
Not only was I frustrated, but I didn’t get my tasty Thai. The experience left a truly bitter taste in my mouth.
10 test ideas for optimizing your mobile website!
Get this checklist of 10 experiment ideas you should test on your mobile website.
Why is mobile website optimization important?
In 2017, every marketer ‘knows’ the importance of the mobile shopping experience. Americans spend more time on mobile devices than any other. But we are still failing to meet our users where they are on mobile.
For most of us, it is becoming more and more important to provide a seamless mobile experience. But here’s where it gets a little tricky…
“Conversion optimization”, and the term “optimization” in general, often imply improving conversion rates. But a seamless mobile experience does not necessarily mean a high-converting mobile experience. It means one that meets your user’s needs and propels them along the buyer journey.
I am sure there are improvements you can test on your mobile experience that will lift your mobile conversion rates, but you shouldn’t hyper-focus on a single metric. Instead, keep in mind that mobile may just be a step within your user’s journey to purchase.
So, let’s get started! First, I’ll delve into your user’s mobile mindset, and look at how to optimize your mobile experience. For real.
What’s different about mobile?
First things first: let’s acknowledge that your user is the same human being whether they are shopping on a mobile device, a desktop computer, a laptop, or in-store. Agreed?
So, what’s different about mobile? Well, back in 2013, Chris Goward said, “Mobile is a state of being, a context, a verb, not a device. When your users are on mobile, they are in a different context, a different environment, with different needs.”
Your user is the same person when she is shopping on her iPhone, but she is in a different context. She may be in a store comparing product reviews on her phone, or she may be on the go looking for a good cup of coffee, or she may be trying to order Thai delivery from her couch.
This is why many mobile optimization experts recommend having a mobile website versus using responsive design.
Responsive design is not an optimization strategy. We should stop treating mobile visitors as ‘mini-desktop visitors’. People don’t use mobile devices instead of desktop devices, they use it in addition to desktop in a whole different way.
– Talia Wolf, Founder & Chief Optimizer at GetUplift
Step one, then, is to understand who your target customer is, and what motivates them to act in any context. This should inform all of your marketing and the creation of your value proposition.
(If you don’t have a clear picture of your target customer, you should re-focus and tackle that question first.)
Step two is to understand how your user’s mobile context affects their existing motivation, and how to facilitate their needs on mobile to the best of your ability.
Understanding the mobile context
To understand the mobile context, let’s start with some stats and work backwards.
Americans spend more than half (54%) of their online time on mobile devices (Source: KPCB, 2016)
Mobile accounts for 60% of time spent shopping online, but only 16% of all retail dollars spent (Source: ComScore, 2015)
Insight: Americans are spending more than half of their online time on their mobile devices, but there is a huge gap between time spent ‘shopping’ online, and actually buying.
29% of smartphone users will immediately switch to another site or app if the original site doesn’t satisfy their needs (Source: Google, 2015)
Of those, 70% switch because of lagging load times and 67% switch because it takes too many steps to purchase or get desired information (Source: Google, 2015)
Insight: Mobile users are hypersensitive to slow load times, and too many obstacles.
So, why the heck are our expectations for immediate gratification so high on mobile? I have a few theories.
Mobile devices provide constant access to the internet, which means a constant expectation for reward.
“The fact that we don’t know what we’ll find when we check our email, or visit our favorite social site, creates excitement and anticipation. This leads to a small burst of pleasure chemicals in our brains, which drives us to use our phones more and more.” – TIME, “You asked: Am I addicted to my phone?”
If non-stop access has us primed to expect non-stop reward, is it possible that having a negative mobile experience is even more detrimental to our motivation than a negative experience in another context?
When you tap into your Facebook app and see three new notifications, you get a burst of pleasure. And you do this over, and over, and over again.
So, when you tap into your Chrome browser and land on a mobile website that is difficult to navigate, it makes sense that you would be extra annoyed. (No burst of fun reward chemicals!)
A mobile device is a personal device
Another facet to mobile that we rarely discuss is the fact that mobile devices are personal devices. Because our smartphones and wearables are with us almost constantly, they often feel very intimate.
In fact, our smartphones are almost like another limb. According to research from dscout, the average cellphone user touches his or her phone 2,167 times per day. Our thumbprints are built into them, for goodness’ sake.
Just think about your instinctive reaction when someone grabs your phone and starts scrolling through your pictures…
It is possible, then, that our expectations are higher on mobile because the device itself feels like an extension of us. Any experience you have on mobile should speak to your personal situation. And if the experience is cumbersome or difficult, it may feel particularly dissonant because it’s happening on your mobile device.
User expectations on mobile are extremely high. And while you can argue that mobile apps are doing a great job of meeting those expectations, the mobile web is failing.
If yours is one of the millions of organizations without a mobile app, your mobile website has got to work harder. Because a negative experience with your brand on mobile may have a stronger effect than you can anticipate.
Even if you have a mobile app, you should recognize that not everyone is going to use it. You can’t completely disregard your mobile website. (As illustrated by my extremely negative experience trying to order food.)
You need to think about how to meet your users where they are in the buyer journey on your mobile website:
What are your users actually doing on mobile?
Are they just seeking information before purchasing from a computer?
Are they seeking information on your mobile site while in your actual store?
The great thing about optimization is that you can test to pick off low-hanging fruit, while you are investigating more impactful questions like those above. For instance, while you are gathering data about how your users are using your mobile site, you can test usability improvements.
Usability on mobile websites
If you are looking take get a few quick wins to prove the importance of a mobile optimization program, usability is a good place to begin.
The mobile web presents unique usability challenges for marketers. And given your users’ ridiculously high expectations, your mobile experience must address these challenges.
Below are four of the core mobile limitations, along with recommendations from the WiderFunnel Strategy team around how to address (and test) them.
Note: For this section, I relied heavily on research from the Nielsen Norman Group. For more details, click here.
1. The small screen struggle
No surprise, here. Compared to desktop and laptop screens, even the biggest smartphone screen is smaller―which means they display less content.
“The content displayed above the fold on a 30-inch monitor requires 5 screenfuls on a small 4-inch screen. Thus mobile users must (1) incur a higher interaction cost in order to access the same amount of information; (2) rely on their short-term memory to refer to information that is not visible on the screen.” – Nielsen Norman Group, “Mobile User Experience: Limitations and Strengths”
Consider persistent navigation and calls-to-action. Because of the smaller screen size, your users often need to do a lot of scrolling. If your navigation and main call-to-action aren’t persistent, you are asking your users to scroll down for information, and scroll back up for relevant links.
Note: Anything persistent takes up screen space as well. Make sure to test this idea before implementing it to make sure you aren’t stealing too much focus from other important elements on your page.
2. The touchy touchscreen
Two main issues with the touchscreen (an almost universal trait of today’s mobile devices) are typing and target size.
Typing on a soft keyboard, like the one on your user’s iPhone, requires them to constantly divide their attention between what they are typing, and the keypad area. Not to mention the small keypad and crowded keys…
Target size refers to a clickable target, which needs to be a lot larger on a touchscreen than it is does when your user has a mouse.
So, you need to make space for larger targets (bigger call-to-action buttons) on a smaller screen.
Test increasing the size of your clickable elements. Google provides recommendations for target sizing:
You should ensure that the most important tap targets on your site—the ones users will be using the most often—are large enough to be easy to press, at least 48 CSS pixels tall/wide (assuming you have configured your viewport properly).
Less frequently-used links can be smaller, but should still have spacing between them and other links, so that a 10mm finger pad would not accidentally press both links at once.
You may also want to test improving the clarity around what is clickable and what isn’t. This can be achieved through styling, and is important for reducing ‘exploratory clicking’.
When a user has to click an element to 1) determine whether or not it is clickable, and 2) determine where it will lead, this eats away at their finite motivation.
As the term mobile implies, mobile devices are portable. And because we can use ‘em in many settings, we are more likely to be interrupted.
“As a result, attention on mobile is often fragmented and sessions on mobile devices are short. In fact, the average session duration is 72 seconds […] versus the average desktop session of 150 seconds.” – Nielsen Norman Group
You should design your mobile experience for interruptions, prioritize essential information, and simplify tasks and interactions. This goes back to meeting your users where they are within the buyer journey.
According to research by SessionM (published in 2015), 90% of smartphone users surveyed used their phones while shopping in a physical store to 1) compare product prices, 2) look up product information, and 3) check product reviews online.
You should test adjusting your page length and messaging hierarchy to facilitate your user’s main goals. This may be browsing and information-seeking versus purchasing.
4. One window at a time
As I’m writing this post, I have 11 tabs open in Google Chrome, split between two screens. If I click on a link that takes me to a new website or page, it’s no big deal.
But on mobile, your user is most likely viewing one window at a time. They can’t split their screen to look at two windows simultaneously, so you shouldn’t ask them to. Mobile tasks should be easy to complete in one app or on one website.
The more your user has to jump from page to page, the more they have to rely on their memory. This increases cognitive load, and decreases the likelihood that they will complete an action.
Your navigation should be easy to find and it should contain links to your most relevant and important content. This way, if your user has to travel to a new page to access specific content, they can find their way back to other important pages quickly and easily.
In e-commerce, we often see people “pogo-sticking”—jumping from one page to another continuously—because they feel that they need to navigate to another page to confirm that the information they have provided is correct.
A great solution is to ensure that your users can view key information that they may want to confirm (prices / products / address) on any page. This way, they won’t have to jump around your website and remember these key pieces of information.
Implementing mobile website optimization
As I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, the phrase “you should test” is peppered throughout this post. Because understanding the mobile context, and reviewing usability challenges and recommendations are first steps.
If you can, you should test any recommendation made in this post. Which brings us to mobile website optimization. At WiderFunnel, we approach mobile optimization just like we would desktop optimization: with process.
You should evaluate and prioritize mobile web optimization in the context of all of your marketing. If you can achieve greater Return on Investment by optimizing your desktop experience (or another element of your marketing), you should start there.
But assuming your mobile website ranks high within your priorities, you should start examining it from your user’s perspective. The WiderFunnel team uses the LIFT Model framework to identify problem areas.
The LIFT Model allows us to identify barriers to conversion, using the six factors of Value Proposition, Clarity, Relevance, Anxiety, Distraction, and Urgency. For more on the LIFT Model, check out this blog post.
A LIFT illustration
I asked the WiderFunnel Strategy team to do a LIFT analysis of the food delivery website that gave me so much grief that Sunday night. Here are some of the potential barriers they identified on the checkout page alone:
Relevance: There is valuable page real estate dedicated to changing the language, when a smartphone will likely detect your language on its own.
Anxiety: There are only 3 options available in the navigation: Log In, Sign Up, and Help. None of these are helpful when a user is trying to navigate between key pages.
Clarity: Placing the call-to-action at the top of the page creates disjointed eyeflow. The user must scan the page from top to bottom to ensure their order is correct.
Clarity: The “Order Now” call-to-action and “Allergy & dietary information links” are very close together. Users may accidentally tap one, when they want to tap the other.
Anxiety: There is no confirmation of the delivery address.
Anxiety: There is no way to edit an order within the checkout. A user has to delete items, return to the menu and add new items.
Clarity: Font size is very small making the content difficult to read.
Clarity: The “Cash” and “Card” icons have no context. Is a user supposed to select one, or are these just the payment options available?
Distraction: The dropdown menus in the footer include many links that might distract a user from completing their order.
Needless to say, my frustrations were confirmed. The WiderFunnel team ran into the same obstacles I had run into, and identified dozens of barriers that I hadn’t.
But what does this mean for you?
When you are first analyzing your mobile experience, you should try to step into your user’s shoes and actually use your experience. Give your team a task and a goal, and walk through the experience using a framework like LIFT. This will allow you to identify usability issues within your user’s mobile context.
Every LIFT point is a potential test idea that you can feed into your optimization program.
Case study examples
This wouldn’t be a WiderFunnel blog post without some case study examples.
This is where we put ‘best mobile practices’ to the test. Because the smallest usability tweak may make perfect sense to you, and be off-putting to your users.
In the following three examples, we put our recommendations to the test.
Mobile navigation optimization
In mobile design in particular, we tend to assume our users understand ‘universal’ symbols.
But, that isn’t always the case. And it is certainly worth testing to understand how you can make the navigation experience (often a huge pain point on mobile) easier.
You can’t just expect your users to know things. You have to make it as clear as possible. The more you ask your user to guess, the more frustrated they will become.
– Dennis Pavlina, Optimization Strategist, WiderFunnel
This example comes from an e-commerce client that sells artwork. In this experiment, we tested two variations against the original.
In the first, we increased font and icon size within the navigation and menu drop-down. This was a usability update meant to address the small, difficult to navigate menu. Remember the conversation about target size? We wanted to tackle the low-hanging fruit first.
With variation B, we dug a little deeper into the behavior of this client’s specific users.
Qualitative Hotjar recordings had shown that users were trying to navigate the mobile website using the homepage as a homebase. But this site actually has a powerful search functionality, and it is much easier to navigate using search. Of course, the search option was buried in the hamburger menu…
So, in the second variation (built on variation A), we removed Search from the menu and added it right into the main Nav.
Both variations beat the control. Variation A led to a 2.7% increase in transactions, and a 2.4% increase in revenue. Variation B decreased clicks to the menu icon by -24%, increased transactions by 8.1%, and lifted revenue by 9.5%.
Never underestimate the power of helping your users find their way on mobile. But be wary! Search worked for this client’s users, but it is not always the answer, particularly if what you are selling is complex, and your users need more guidance through the funnel.
Mobile product page optimization
Let’s look at another e-commerce example. This client is a large sporting goods store, and this experiment focused on their product detail pages.
On the original page, our Strategists noted a worst mobile practice: The buttons were small and arranged closely together, making them difficult to click.
There were also several optimization blunders:
Two calls-to-action were given equal prominence: “Find in store” and “+ Add to cart”
“Add to wishlist” was also competing with “Add to cart”
Social icons were placed near the call-to-action, which could be distracting
We had evidence from an experiment on desktop that removing these distractions, and focusing on a single call-to-action, would increase transactions. (In that experiment, we saw transactions increase by 6.56%).
So, we tested addressing these issues in two variations.
In the first, we de-prioritized competing calls-to-action, and increased the ‘Size’ and ‘Qty’ fields. In the second, we wanted to address usability issues, making the color options, size options, and quantity field bigger and easier to click.
Both of our variations lost to the Control. I know what you’re thinking…what?!
Let’s dig deeper.
Looking at the numbers, users responded in the way we expected, with significant increases to the actions we wanted, and a significant reduction in the ones we did not.
Visits to “Reviews”, “Size”, “Quantity”, “Add to Cart” and the Cart page all increased. Visits to “Find in Store” decreased.
And yet, although the variations were more successful at moving users through to the next step, there was not a matching increase in motivation to actually complete a transaction.
It is hard to say for sure why this result happened without follow-up testing. However, it is possible that this client’s users have different intentions on mobile: Browsing and seeking product information vs. actually buying. Removing the “Find in Store” CTA may have caused anxiety.
This example brings us back to the mobile context. If an experiment wins within a desktop experience, this certainly doesn’t guarantee it will win on mobile.
I was shopping for shoes the other day, and was actually browsing the store’s mobile site while I was standing in the store. I was looking for product reviews. In that scenario, I was information-seeking on my phone, with every intention to buy…just not from my phone.
Are you paying attention to how your unique users use your mobile experience? It may be worthwhile to take the emphasis off of ‘increasing conversions on mobile’ in favor of researching user behavior on mobile, and providing your users with the mobile experience that best suits their needs.
Note: When you get a test result that contradicts usability best practices, it is important that you look carefully at your experiment design and secondary metrics. In this case, we have a potential theory, but would not recommend any large-scale changes without re-validating the result.
Mobile checkout optimization
This experiment was focused on one WiderFunnel client’s mobile checkout page. It was an insight-driving experiment, meaning the focus was on gathering insights about user behavior rather than on increasing conversion rates or revenue.
Evidence from this client’s business context suggested that users on mobile may prefer alternative payment methods, like Apple Pay and Google Wallet, to the standard credit card and PayPal options.
To make things even more interesting, this client wanted to determine the desire for alternative payment methods before implementing them.
The hypothesis: By adding alternative payment methods to the checkout page in an unobtrusive way, we can determine by the percent of clicks which new payment methods are most sought after by users.
We tested two variations against the Control.
In variation A, we pulled the credit card fields and call-to-action higher on the page, and added four alternative payment methods just below the CTA: PayPal, Apple Pay, Amazon Payments, and Google Wallet.
If a user clicked on one of the four alternative payment methods, they would see a message:
“Google Wallet coming soon!
We apologize for any inconvenience. Please choose an available deposit method.
Credit Card | PayPal”
In variation B, we flipped the order. We featured the alternative payment methods above the credit card fields. The focus was on increasing engagement with the payment options to gain better insights about user preference.
Note: For this experiment, iOS devices did not display the Google Wallet option, and Android devices did not display Apple Pay.
On iOS devices, Apple Pay received 18% of clicks, and Amazon Pay received 12%. On Android devices, Google Wallet received 17% of clicks, and Amazon Pay also received 17%.
The client can use these insights to build the best experience for mobile users, offering Apple Pay and Google Wallet as alternative payment methods rather than PayPal or Amazon Pay.
Unexpectedly, both variations also increased transactions! Variation A led to an 11.3% increase in transactions, and variation B led to an 8.5% increase.
Because your user’s motivation is already limited on mobile, you should try to create an experience with the fewest possible steps.
You can ask someone to grab their wallet, decipher their credit card number, expiration date, and ccv code, and type it all into a small form field. Or, you can test leveraging the digital payment options that may already be integrated with their mobile devices.
The future of mobile website optimization
Imagine you are in your favorite outdoor goods store, and you are ready to buy a new tent.
You are standing in front of piles of tents: 2-person, 3-person, 4-person tents; 3-season and extreme-weather tents; affordable and pricey tents; light-weight and heavier tents…
You pull out your smartphone, and navigate to the store’s mobile website. You are looking for more in-depth product descriptions and user reviews to help you make your decision.
A few seconds later, a store employee asks if they can help you out. They seem to know exactly what you are searching for, and they help you choose the right tent for your needs within minutes.
Imagine that while you were browsing products on your phone, that store employee received a notification that you are 1) in the store, 2) looking at product descriptions for tent A and tent B, and 3) standing by the tents.
Mobile optimization in the modern era is not about increasing conversions on your mobile website. It is about providing a seamless user experience. In the scenario above, the in-store experience and the mobile experience are inter-connected. One informs the other. And a transaction happens because of each touch point.
Mobile experiences cannot live in a vacuum. Today’s buyer switches seamlessly between devices [and] your optimization efforts must reflect that.
We wear the internet on our wrists. We communicate via chat bots and messaging apps. We spend our leisure time on our phones: streaming, gaming, reading, sharing.
And while I’m not encouraging you to shift your optimization efforts entirely to mobile, you must consider the role mobile plays in your customers’ lives. The online experience is mobile. And your mobile experience should be an intentional step within the buyer journey.
What does your ideal mobile shopping experience look like? Where do you think mobile websites can improve? Do you agree or disagree with the ideas in this post? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
These days, being able to produce video is becoming more of a necessity than a “nice-to-have” for online marketers. Check out these stats: Creating a video of a product increases the likelihood of a purchase by 144% Having a video on your homepage can increase conversion rates by 64-85%. 100 million hours of video was watched on Facebook just over a year ago. Guess what that number is now? As the figures show, video is the future, and video marketing is the key to the right promotion of your product or service. Lucky for us, the iPhone shoots beautiful video…
In the tech industry, many of us came of age during hip-hop’s rise as a dominant art form. Its spirit of individualism, bravado, and constant reinvention makes it impossible for us not to admire. Our thought leaders craft mixtapes and pour millions of dollars into apps that decode rap lyrics.
The founders of my former company rapped to celebrate every corporate milestone. We’re compelled to quantify what we love about it, and to somehow technologize it the same way Instagram did photography.
If you’ve ever had to move your iPad from one hand to the other just to tap a button you couldn’t reach, then you may have already guessed why we began this study in our UX lab.
Our Mail.Ru Group’s UX lab team carries out many usability studies of our apps for smartphones and tablets. We address users’ needs by introducing features in our products. We carefully test all of the functions to ensure users notice and understand them well.
Cross-browser testing is time-consuming and laborious. However, developers are lazy by nature: adhering to the DRY principle, writing scripts to automate things we’d otherwise have to do by hand, making use of third-party libraries; being lazy is what makes us good developers.
The traditional approach to cross-browser testing ‘properly’ is to test in all of the major browsers used by your audience, gradually moving onto the older or more obscure browsers in order to say you’ve tested them.
The incredible growth of mobile and the proliferation of mobile devices has made the UX designer’s job more challenging and interesting. It also means that user-testing mobile apps and websites is an essential component of the UX toolkit.
But unlike the desktop environment, no out-of-the-box software packages such as Silverback or Camtasia are specifically designed to record mobile usability tests.
Further Reading on SmashingMag: A Field Guide To Mobile App Testing Testing Mobile: Emulators, Simulators And Remote Debugging Where Are The World’s Best Open Device Labs?
VWO recently conducted a giveaway along with Concept Feedback where we promised a free website evaluation by a Concept Feedback expert. Charmingcharlie.com won this contest and Concept Feedback expert Tom Charde along with the team has been working hard to churn out a brilliant review for this website. Read on for a review of CharmingCharlie.com, head to tail.
Note that the following analysis was done viewing the site on;
Web – MacBook Pro 15” Retina display (2880 x 1800) | OS X (10.10.3) | Firefox (38.0.1) browser
Mobile – iPhone 5S | iOS (8.3) | Safari browser.
After a quick walkthrough of the website, a couple things are very clear: it has a very clean design, is aesthetically appealing, has an audience-appropriate tone, and provides an impressive product offering. Charming Charlie steers clear of excessively large images and in-your-face promotional messages, which, in itself, is a big win for the user experience.
The first big hurdle that we noticed upon visiting the site is that it lacks any kind of site description, positioning statement, brand promise and/or value proposition. Your existing customers may know all about you, but there’s a large, untapped audience you’re overlooking: people who are unfamiliar with your brand.
Here’s a few basic questions one should ask themselves:
How would you describe the company to someone who’s never heard of it?
How does it provide value to its customers?
What differentiates it from the rest of the market?
Here’s what we can make out from a simple research of the brand; Charming Charlie is a retail store (online and offline) with the latest trends in women’s apparel, fashion jewellery, shoes, handbags, accessories and more. This should ideally be mentioned on the home page and done so in text format.
There are several great copy points on the ‘About’ page that could ideally craft the messaging and help establish a unique tone for Charming Charlie.
We’re crazy for color.
We live for sparkle.
We thrive on making a statement.
We know accessories have the power to transform both your outfit and your outlook.
Helping every woman, everywhere, find her fabulous.
If it feels good, do it. If it looks good, do it in every color.
Unleash your one-of-a-kind style.
Bring out your most fabulous, fierce and fun self.
Charming Charlie needs a one-line “hook” statement; something succinct and hard-hitting that can be used as a tagline near the logo and possibly in the header area. The fifth bullet above (Helping every woman, everywhere, find her fabulous) is close, but it’s a bit too long. Consider this;
Charming Charlie find your fabulous!
Refining the messaging will not only strengthen the brand, but will also boost the search engine rankings for relevant keywords.
Moving forth we will break our analysis down to 3 categories; Technical analysis, Heuristic analysis and Mobile website analysis.
The first and foremost thing that one should focus on is to ensure a glitch free website experience. Fixing minor bugs is low-hanging fruit, one that you can make a lot of money on. We found some of these conversion killing bugs on Charming Charlie;
Upon arriving, the site immediately forces an intrusive promotional pop-up on the user. We’d recommend running a few tests on this (one without any pop-ups; one with a 15-sec delay; etc) to see if the bounce rate improves.
The top promo banner in the header (scarves) is loading an error message.
The “Quick Views” feature on the “As Seen In” page doesn’t seem to be working; it displays an endless loading spinner.
Many of the text-based graphics throughout the site aren’t retina-ready. (Examples: Charming Charlie logo, media logos in footer, free shipping banner.) Most users won’t experience a difference, but those with retina displays are seeing a pronounced drop in graphic quality.
The email sign-up page (under “Customer Service”) gives an “invalid certificate” error. Testing this on Mercury Browser also showed similar results.
CharmingCharlie.com’s clean, minimalistic design is one of its major strengths. It sets the tone right away. The homepage’s look and feel is right on target. Design-wise, one thing we’d suggest is tweaking the styling (inconsistent text colors and alignment) and placement (perhaps move to hero image area?) of the promo banners, which seem to jumble up the header space. The area of the homepage with the most room for improvement is the content.
Allocation of page real estate: The current viewport is dominated by a giant slider; an area that can be used much more efficiently. Try reducing the height of the slider images, moving some of the featured products and messages up, and testing for engagement.
Complete absence of copy: There is literally zero copy as HTML text; the entire page is image-based. In addition to accessibility issues and increased page load time, lacking text on the homepage is killing the chances of achieving a decent search engine ranking.
Lack of Clarity around Newsletter sign up form: There is a “Sign up for emails” form in the footer, but there’s no information about what this is for. Think about it from a user’s perspective: “Why should I sign up? What are you going to send me in exchange for giving my personal contact information?” Try adding a brief description near the form or a link which describes what a user can look forward to.
Following is a screenshot of homepage, annotated with things that should be worked upon.
We’ve also made a quick mockup for one possible way the header might be transformed.
The What’s New category is confusing.
It has a combination of “themed” content (Modern Americana, Citrus Splash, Moroccan Muse).
A redirect to an existing main category (CC Essentials).
An out-of-place sub-category (Best Sellers).
There’s really only one true subcategory that fits here: New Arrivals. To remedy this, simply eliminate the What’s New category entirely by ‘New Arrivals’. Following is a screenshot of the category browsing drop down of Charming Charlie and things that should be worked upon.
Also consider sorting the resulting list of categories into two grouped areas: those which are a product type (Jewellery, Handbags, Apparel, Accessories) and then all the others (New Arrivals, Best Sellers, Seasonal, Special Occasion, CC Essentials, Sale). And it may help to separate the two groups in the side nav with a faint line. Check the mockup with these suggestions implemented.
The product page looks pretty standard but there are multiple tweaks which can be done to make them convert more. The screenshot below annotates some aspects which can be improved.
One other glaring aspect which we noticed was that there is no product review system. It often acts as a social proof and really helps the visitor take a decision on the product page.
With e-commerce buyers rapidly gravitating towards mobile, fully functional mobile site is a must. CharmingCharlie.com isn’t a true responsive site, but it does have a fairly decent mobile
Similar to the desktop site, the mobile version of the homepage suffers from a serious page real estate concern: the promo messages, navigation, utilities, etc take up almost 60% of the initial screen. Reducing the size of this footprint and moving the meat of the content up will almost certainly improve bounce rate and conversions.
Store Locator – Visual Hierarchy Issues
With two form fields (styled differently for some reason) interspersed among three large, black buttons — the eye just doesn’t know where to go on this page.
Converting the buttons to links, and adding some space between the main content and the footer (email signup form) should help create a better flow.
Product Page Readability
We would recommend increasing the font size of the product page body copy. The size used on the About, Privacy, and other non-product pages is much easier to read — as can be seen below in a side-by-side comparison.
This brings us to the end of the website review of Charmingcharlie.com. We definitely hope Charming Charlie would implement these changes and share the results with us. We thank Tom Charde for working rigorously on this review and helping us in bringing this review to such good shape.