Mobile phone? Tablet or Desktop? Are you analysing all 3?

Steve Jackson

Steve Jackson

Mobile phone? Tablet or Desktop? Are you analysing all 3?

It surprises me when analysing company websites how little attention is paid to how people read your website, whether that be on a mobile phone, a tablet or a desktop. Notice that I put mobile phone first? That’s because today most likely your website is visited by more people on a mobile phone than by people on a desktop or laptop.

Find out if you have a mobile problem

mobile phone analysis


It’s relatively easy to find out how mobile traffic performs against desktop traffic. Firstly login to your analytics tool and segment your data. In Google Analytics you simply add a new segment by selecting “add new segment” and use “device contains mobile” as your filter. You’ll then have a segment you can compare all your mobile traffic. Repeat this process for “desktop”.

Now you have 2 segments, one for mobile and one for desktop.

If you have goals set-up compare the differences between the segments. Firstly is there significant traffic on mobile phones visiting your website? What is the percentage? 50/50? If it’s anywhere near significant amounts of visitors visiting from a small screen device you then need to dig deeper to find out if there is an issue with the way visitors are viewing your site.


The optimal situation is that the conversion to your goals is the same on mobile as it is on the desktop. If there is a significant negative difference you have to ask why. Could it be that the user experience on your mobile rendered website could be tested for improvements?

Test and iterating for a mobile experience

Lots has been written about a “mobile first” strategy when designing websites today. The 3 main things to consider for mobile are;

  1. Firstly you need to select what makes sense on a mobile site and what doesn’t. If you have a graphic that renders badly on a small screen (i.e. see above for demo purposes) leave it out. Firstly it loads faster and secondly its less irritating to the user than trying to decipher a tiny graphic. There are lots of things you can leave out that don’t need to hamper the mobile experience that will help a user on a desktop.
  2. A responsive fast loading website is the minimum you need for a usable experience on a mobile phone. The above strategy of stripping the mobile platform down to the bare essentials goes hand in hand with making it responsive. There are rules you can set-up across screen sizes in your CSS code including leaving things in and out of the mobile experience.
  3. Develop a testing culture. By finding out where the issues lie in your analytics tools you can try to fix things by testing and iterating till you ramp up the conversion rates to be as good as if not better than the desktop experience.

Actions points

  • Find out of there is significant traffic from mobile coming to your website. Then determine if you’re serving them as well if not better than the visitors coming from desktop.
  • Leave out what doesn’t make sense on a smaller device size. Leave in the essentials and make them easy to find and read on a small screen.
  • Make the site responsive and develop a testing culture around your analytics to determine how to improve mobile conversion rates.

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