Make it Boring: The Psychology of the Mobile Product Page
It's not for a tablet. That's what you should be thinking about when you're designing your tiny little product page, with its tiny real estate to work with on the tiny screen. "Tiny" is relevant here because you have an important internal decision to make, one that many other companies are dealing with right now with budgets, short-term tactical implementation and long-term strategy.
Should you have different product pages for smartphones and tablets?
For sure, some organizations are still grappling with the decision to make different pages for mouse and touch-driven devices. Then there's the problem of differentiating between types of touch devices, which may stretch budgets and create bad user experiences. But leaving smartphone and tablet product pages the same ignores the very different use cases they have. The tablet is a comparable device to the desktop, while the phone is really more its own animal. It's convenient and immediate, where the tablet is focused and deliberate.
Whether you choose to make different pages for tablets and smartphones or go for responsive design (which instantly adapts your website to available screen size), here are some things to keep in mind when creating product pages for mobile:
1. Keep them distraction free. To a degree, the phone is already the distraction. It's the thing being used to compare item prices between retail sites while the car's in heavy traffic or when there are a few minutes of downtime. Putting another layer of distraction on top of that is a bad idea. The phone allows for tons of bells and whistles, with accelerometer access, location data and all kinds of goodies. Resist the urge to use all of these unless you add tremendous value, like with a click-to-call for orders.
This might sound counterintuitive to the executive looking to mobile for branding pizzazz, but the idea is to make the product page, well, boring. Dry. Focused on the item, price and savings, and with very little text on the page, all engineered to persuade.
Tim Ash is the author of the bestselling book Landing Page Optimization, and CEO of SiteTuners. A computer scientist and cognitive scientist by education (his PhD studies were in Neural Networks and Artificial Intelligence), Tim has developed an expertise in user-centered design, persuasion and understanding online behavior, and landing page testing. In the mid-1990s he became one of the early pioneers in the discipline of website conversion rate optimization. Over the past 15 years, Tim has helped a number of major US and international brands to develop successful web-based initiatives. Companies like Google, Expedia, Kodak, eHarmony, Facebook, American Express, Canon, Nestle, Symantec, Intuit, AutoDesk and many others have benefitted from Tim's deep understanding and innovative perspective.
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