What Candy Land Can Teach You About Optimizing Mobile

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Remember the board game Candy Land? Sweet-toothed contestants traveled down a path of colored squares on their quest to reach the Candy Castle. If you were lucky, you landed on the Gumdrop Pass or Rainbow Trail – shortcuts that helped you bypass your opponents to reach the finish that much faster.  Draw the wrong card, and you’d get lost in the Lollipop Woods or stuck in the Molasses Swamp. An unfortunate turn of events that could prevent you from reaching Candy Castle altogether.

candyland2

Now, think of your mobile site like Candy Land. Just like the Candy Castle, users enter your site looking for something specific. To help decrease bounce rates and take users to the pages they’re looking for faster, here are a few A/B tests to get started optimizing your mobile experience.

Optimize your jump paths

Mobile web visitors want to reach many different destinations with few touches. Test promoting different destinations earlier in the flow to discover which shortcuts (or jump paths) reduce bounce rates on your site. If you find visitors are looking for a specific destination, try making that page even easier to access from your homepage with the fewest number of clicks possible. The sooner you present users with shortcuts that lead to exactly what they are looking for, the faster they’ll reach their desired destination. Don’t let your users get lost in the Lollipop Forest.

Scroll versus click

Obviously users prefer shorter pages, right? Maybe.

Shorter page layouts mean mobile site visitors may have to click through six different windows to reach their desired destination. Page loads are often slower on mobile than on a desktop computer, making users more likely to bounce when the item they’re looking for is not easy to find right off the bat. Run an A/B test to determine whether visitors to your mobile site are more willing to scroll down a longer page or click a button to view additional content. Test page variations with larger text, bigger buttons, or stackable content – let your users tell you which design works best.

Blinds, buttons, or blocks?

There are three primary ways to display navigation content on your mobile site: blinds, buttons, and blocks. A split testing tool can help you determine which will best drive click-throughs, purchases, and other desired actions on your site. You can try variations of one, two, or all three of these layout options simultaneously on your mobile site.

Blinds allow you to display a list of of many different options or products but are often too closely stacked together, causing users to click the wrong item on their small mobile screen. Test the effect that increasing the height of your blinds has on your click-through rates.

Blinds on Amazon's mobile site.

Blinds on Amazon’s mobile site.

Buttons most closely resemble a mobile app experience. They’re easy to click and provide a visual representation of what the user may be looking for. Try running a test to see how buttons and icons perform on your homepage. It’s the first place most users will land on your site and nothing beats a strong first impression.

Tim Horton Mobile Site - Buttons

Buttons on the Tim Horton website.

Blocks are a great way to display multiple promotions or show images (not just icons) associated with your navigation. They span the width of the page, making it nearly impossible to for users to click the wrong item. However, blocks limit the amount of content users can see without scrolling. Some users may even mistake block content for third party ads. Test blocks on your homepage to see if they perform better than other navigation options.

Blocks on Target's mobile site.

Blocks on Target’s mobile site.

Whatever test you decide to run, always keep the goal of your mobile site in mind. Consider your site’s content and tailor the interface to best meet site visitor’s needs. Measure the bounce rate and page views with your new layout. If you’re an e-commerce site, measure how many people reach a product detail page or add items to their cart.

All of these are indicators that users are reaching the Candy Castle that much quicker thanks to a better mobile experience.

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