It’s quite common for tech users to switch continuously across devices when surfing the web and, no matter the device being used, users always expect a terrific browsing experience.

Google emphasises that tech users, as consumers, connect with businesses on multiple devices daily. Therefore, there are significant opportunities for retailers to reach captive audiences, but only if their website is responsive across all devices, i.e. it works on mobile, as well as on tablets, laptops, desktops and smart TVs.

Google’s whitepaper Any Place, Any Time, Any Device: Building Websites for the Multi-Screen Consumer looks at the most typical structures for multi-screen websites, with tips on how to create a great user experience and avoid some of the more common design pitfalls.

Google also points out the requirement for businesses to create websites that fit customer needs on all screens and at all times. Whatever screen a user is on, they want that screen to work. This means users simply don’t want to pinch, slide and struggle to get pages to load, fill out forms or make online purchases.

Due to substantial increase in mobile usage (1.5 billion users globally), a mobile friendly screen is tantamount to the success of an overall multi-screen plan.

A retailer’s multi-screen strategy must fit their customers’ needs and the needs of their own business. What a retailer offers users, what users expect from a retailer, and what a user can achieve on a retailer’s site should all fit together. It should also be noted that for an increasing number of people, mobile is the only screen. Therefore, retailers should not treat mobile as just an extra screen, but as a screen with its very own unique capabilities.

When considering a multi-screen approach, Google urges the development of a familiar user experience. For example, users who are used to desktop screens want to find the same basic content and user experience on their tablets and smartphones also. Therefore, what customers want from a site when they’re on different devices should be a further consideration.

Another factor in multi-screen development is that retailers realise the full power of mobile. For example, device specific features such as GPS, QR codes and smartphone cameras can be used to enhance the user experience, and help further personalise their interaction and relationship with the retailer. Google encourages retailers not to shy away from seeking out industry trends on a competitor’s site. By investigating the competition, retailers will see current mobile and multi-screen web standards for their industry and find adaptable features for their own sites.

Configuring a website for a multi-screen approach depends on the unique requirements of a retailer’s brand and business. Factors for consideration include cost, time, available resources and infrastructure, and the needs of the consumer. Moreover, beyond basic set-up and configuration, a great mobile user experience has three parts: layout, content and speed. According to Google’s multi-screen whitepaper, the best way to engage and keep users is to make sure all three legs of this tripod are sturdy.

Layout:

  • Be touch friendly
  • Pick the right font
  • Set the right width
  • Avoid mouse overs
  • Don’t use pop-ups
  • Use descriptive buttons

Content:

  • Don’t overload users
  • Customise, don’t cut content
  • Don’t hide key actions
  • Double check media files

Speed:

  • Avoid too many HTTP requests
  • Avoid image overload
  • Avoid file overload

A multi-screen strategy is a must to succeed with today’s constantly connected consumers. However, one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to creating the perfect configuration. Contact DoIt Mobile and we can gather our team, plan your strategy and build the sites that will engage and delight your users.