Paring Down to the Essentials
To determine which pages mattered most to mobile visitors, we relied on both the client's understanding of their audience and an in-depth analysis of their mobile traffic data. Critical information like hours, directions, contact numbers and the popular IMAX theater link were clearly the top priority for mobile visitors. These items were placed in prominent header/footer areas for quick access on any page. Next in line were admissions info, current galleries, and upcoming events. We streamlined the primary navigation to cover these three areas of interest, and weeded out all other possible distractions to keep mobile browsing as simple as possible.
Adapting a Big Design to a Small Device
The Marbles main site was full of playful graphics and Flash animations, but these design elements made mobile browsing slow and difficult. While there was no doubt that some design simplifications would be necessary for mobile devices, it was important to preserve as much of the eclectic feel of the main Marbles site as possible. We carefully chose textures and images that gave us a great deal of design variety, but didn't hinder page load time. To improve the usability of the navigation system on touch screen interfaces like the iPhone and iPad, we rebuilt it outside of Flash and disabled dropdown navigation items. For pages with a large amount of text, we added 'Read All' buttons, which displayed an abbreviated version of a page to load initially, and lets the user decide if they'd like to expand out the full content of a page.
No Additional Content Entry
Keeping site content up to date for a museum with a regularly updated event schedule is no small task, so it was important to design a mobile site that kept content entry at a minimum. With time crunched clients like Marbles in mind, we built our mobile suite to integrate with the same content management system the client uses on a daily basis for their main site. Marbles continues to edit content for their main site as they always have, and this same content is displayed uniquely for mobile visitors.
Within the first month after launching the mobile site, bounce rate (visitors who leave after just 1 page view) decreased 10%. The average number of page views increased 12%, and the average number of pages viewed per visit increased 9%. Lastly, the percentage of new visits from those on mobile devices is up 14%, confirming that our timing for jumping into the mobile space was right on target.