In recent years, we have seen a market increase in mobile usage. In 2017, 66 per cent of Britons used their mobile phone to browse the internet 33 per cent will leave a website if it won’t display properly on their mobile. Over 50 per cent of property searches start on a mobile device, and search engines rank responsive sites higher than non-responsive. There is no doubt that every estate agent must have a mobile responsive website – one designed to adapt to the device used.
But this is no longer enough. The way consumers browse on their phones is different to the way they browse through a desktop device. To give the best experience on a mobile phone, one should consider how people consume information, and lay it out accordingly.
What does this mean for estate agents’ websites and their customers?
On average, visitors to estate agents’ websites spent a third less time when using their mobile devices than when browsing a site through a desktop computer. This means the intent on a mobile device is different, and so should the layout of the site.
Make sure that your main calls to action are visible on each page with ‘sticky’ footers or headers. This way you’ll never miss a sale opportunity!
CALLS TO ACTION
It is important the mobile responsive site focuses on clear call to actions. If a vendor is visiting your website via a mobile phone, it is important to make it easy for them to find a way to book a valuation in one or two clicks. If a buyer or tenant visits your site, they will be looking for your stock and a way to book a viewing. We recommend that your main call to actions are visible on every page through ‘sticky’ footers or headers. This way you will never miss a sale opportunity.
ORDER OF INFORMATION
Unlike a desktop site where you have a lot more space and could show your content in more than one column, on a mobile you can only show the content in one column where people have to scroll down to read more. You should think about the order of information you show based on what matters most to users. You don’t have to show everything you display on desktop, just a limited selection which leads to the reader taking action.
CONSIDER THE FINGER
People use a mouse to browse through a site on a desktop, while on a mobile they use their finger. It sounds obvious, but many mobile responsive sites make it difficult to click on links. Naturally the user gets frustrated and leaves. Your links should be big enough to make it easy for people to click on them and move around.
IMAGE OPTIMISATION (scaling)
Images are a lot smaller on a mobile phone and sometimes add no value to the user. Only display images which add value to the experience, and resize them accordingly. Remember, the intent is to help the user take action, so only display images which help this process.
AMOUNT OF INFORMATION DISPLAYED
Have you tried reading long pieces of content on a mobile device? It’s not easy, is it? Typically, mobile visitors to your website aim to take action quickly and therefore require less information. Limit or remove text which fails to add value to the viewer on a mobile screen, or fails to make it easy for them to take action.
ARE YOUR FORMS MOBILE TESTED
On desktop, a form may appear in a column on the right or left of the screen, but how does this work on a mobile device? Is it easy to find? We often display a button instead of a form, which opens a form as a pop-up. This button can be in a ‘sticky’ menu at the top or bottom of your page or can be repeated a few times within the page, saving space for other useful information.
Mobile sites have ‘hamburger’ menus but they only work well when they display a one level menu or two levels at the most. If your desktop site has a third level navigation, you must consider how to drive people to those pages in an alternative way. Ideally, design your website with a maximum two level main menu for simplicity.
Many agents rely on PDF particulars to offer further information. This may look good on a desktop, but most mobile users do not like to download PDF files on their phones as they take time to download and don’t read well. Ensure all your information is displayed on the page, and do not rely on PDF particulars.