Mobile UX - How Getting It Wrong Could Be Costing You Big And How To Get It Right.

More than half of all online transactions in the UK are now completed on mobile devices. A survey of a number of online retailers by the Baymard Institute found some major flaws in their mobile experience. This included 78% of sites having a poor product finding experience and 84% of sites having severe mobile checkout usability issues. This presents an opportunity for those retailers that are willing to invest in getting it right.

How are consumers using their mobile devices to shop?

A survey from Criteo has identified that fashion is the most popular product for shopping via mobile and that most people are shopping at home in front of the TV or in bed. Interestingly, consumers are more likely to purchase smaller value items on their mobile, whereas, they are more likely to browse larger purchases such as holidays on their mobile and then complete the transaction on a larger screen device. This highlights the need for a strong omni-channel experience.

Another consideration is how consumers are actually holding their phones when they do shop. UX Matters found that nearly half (49%) of users hold their mobile in one hand. However, even with this, they can be inclined to switch how they are holding the phone and also have variance in where they place their thumb and which hand they use.

What are the common problems with mobile UX?

Conversion rates are generally lower on mobile devices than on desktop. There can be many reasons for this, however, one key contributor is poor mobile user experience.

Product finding

The Baynard Institute discovered that a poor product finding experience is currently hindering many major ecommerce retailers. This includes things such as: badly structured categories; too many nested categories and ineffective search functionality.

Mobile checkout usability issues

The same study also provided an in-depth analysis regarding poor quality checkout usability. Key issues that were highlighted here include: not displaying total order cost until after entering payment details; lack of visible guest checkout option and poorly laid out and formatted form fields.

Small buttons and text links

Small buttons and text links are both difficult for a user to click on a mobile. Especially if there are competing links nearby.

Slow site speed

We already know how important site speed is when it comes to conversion rates. However, mobile users take this one step further by expecting similar performance on a mobile device as on a desktop.

How can you improve your mobile UX?


This is probably the area that needs the most attention when it comes to mobile ecommerce UX. While guest checkout is commonly used, it is not always as clear as it could be. Care should be taken, therefore to ensure that it is prominent enough to stand out. Checkout steps should be minimised to as few as possible and a progress bar should be provided so that customers know where they are in the process.

The customer should also be able to always see the order summary and all final delivery costs etc prior to entering their payment details. Forms should also be effectively formatted so that fields are large enough and no unnecessary information is requested. Alphanumeric input fields should be used on relevant fields such as telephone or credit card number so that the customer does not need to change their keyboard.


Make sure that the categories are well structured and do not have too many nested elements as this can lead to a high level of clicks in order to just reach the required category listing. Also, make sure that enough spacing is given to each navigation item and that the clickable area for each link is large enough to avoid user error.


The search should be clear and easy to find on the mobile. Further this, a well optimised predictive search will be extremely useful as it can reduce the amount of text that the customer needs to enter.

Long pages

Pages shouldn’t be too long and the most important information needs to be above the fold. Be aware that Google are moving to a mobile index , so any content that is not on the mobile will not be indexed once they make the change. However, they have confirmed that content hidden behind tabs for UX purposes will have full weight when it comes to SEO benefit.


We saw previously that mobile users expect the same performance as on desktop. There is so much that can be written about improving mobile site speed, we will create a post on this in its own right. However, if you are having speed issues on the mobile, then there is a good chance you are having speed issues across all platforms. If you have a responsive site, then you should implement effective caching and minify JS and CSS among other things.

As well as reviewing the above points, you should always complete an in-depth audit of your own mobile experience. This should comprise internal and third party user testing to identify any specific issues that relate to your site and customers.

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