All businesses understand that mobile is exploding. The number of smartphone subscribers in the U.S. surpassed the 100-million mark in January, up 13% since October, and mobile Internet usage is continuing to increase at a rapid rate.
In fact, Cisco reports that the number of mobile connected devices will exceed the world’s population this year.
In this new smartphone and tablet-driven digital world, businesses are faced with the important challenge of offering customers a mobile experience that is just as comprehensive and easy to use as found on the traditional website.
Mobile customers are demanding the ability to do everything they’re used to doing on a desktop from the palm of their hands.
To accomplish this, brands should turn to HTML5 -- the latest HTML coding language that allows you to deliver a richer and more intuitive user experience within the mobile browser.
What is HTML5?
HTML5 allows mobile developers to create more dynamic and engaging web content for different use cases and user experiences. Optimizing HTML5 features for mobile interfaces, enables brands to keep pages light and focus on functionality that takes advantage of the smaller screen size of mobile devices.
While most new mobile browsers support HTML5, some older browsers still don’t. Therefore, when building a mobile site it is very important to make sure that you support HTML5 functionality for the newer browsers and also output another version of the site that supports the same core functionality, without the new HTML5 enabled UI/UX, for older browsers.
By implementing a well-executed mobile strategy that takes advantage of next-generation HTML5 technology, consumer-facing brands will see an increase in conversion, repeat visits, and overall positive brand awareness from users engaging with their brand via mobile devices.
Here are 5 reasons why developing your mobile Web strategy with HTML5 will improve the customer experience.
1. Create an App-Like Experience in the Browser Environment
HTML5 allows you to create a rich, app-like user experience in the mobile browser, one that doesn’t require users to actively seek out and download an app through the store or marketplace process. While downloading an app is behavior typically exhibited by brand loyalists, the mobile Web allows you to reach a much larger audience including users much earlier in the customer life cycle.
Mobile Web interfaces built with HTML5 look more and more like apps every day, and through HTML5’s ability to recognize gestures, consumers are able to maneuver a site as they would an app. This includes swiping through navigation and pinching and zooming in on select areas of the site.
Also similar to native apps, HTML5 mobile sites include local storage which allows site developers to store data within browser memory. This results in sites with the ability to store commonly used data within the browser and reduce the number of back-end interactions with the server -- delivering pages that load much faster than previous generation mobile sites.
2. Location Aware Experience
One of the most impactful features HTML5 enables is its ability to bring location awareness to the browser. Retailers with a brick-and-mortar presence, for example, can simply prompt the mobile site to recognize the user’s location upon launch and deliver “Find Near Me” options that identify the closest stores. Additionally, when a user first loads a retailer’s mobile site, HTML5 enables it to prompt them with any special deals or offers that are available at nearby retail locations.
Travel giant Expedia.com is a great example of a brand that uses HTML5 to add location aware context to its mobile site. Upon launching the mobile site, Expedia leverages the device’s internal GPS to offer travelers the ability to search for nearby hotels with same day vacancies. It is also able to push notifications of special offers to users based on their location.
3. Streamline The Shopping Cart
For retailers, one of the keys to converting visitors into buyers is simplifying the shopping cart and checkout process. In fact, according to data from Monetate, 75% of all online purchases never occur because people abandon their shopping carts. On mobile, the need to deliver a seamless and easy to use checkout process is even more important.
HTML5 mobile sites make it easier for brands to implement advanced checkouts that allow users to complete their transaction in one step from whatever page they’re on. To achieve this, retail brands like Tesco Grocery allow you to view your cart via overlays on the product and category pages. This means that users can easily call up their shopping cart at any time without having to navigate away from the page that they’re on. Empowering users with this ability to check out quicker and with less clicks will help boost your mobile conversion rates.
4. Richer Product Images
Another big advantage to mobile sites built with HTML5 is their ability to serve high-resolution image galleries. One of the traditional challenges with mobile shopping has been the customer’s inability to view detailed images. This is largely alleviated with next-generation HTML5 mobile sites, which allow brands to display multiple, high quality product images in a gallery format.
Further, HTML5 mobile sites offer users the ability to look through a number of product views and also double tap to zoom in on specific images and view products in more detail than previously available. This ability to tap-tap-zoom to get a closer view of an image is especially important on smartphones due to their smaller screen size.
5. Expandable Navigation and Collapsible Menus
Finally, HTML5 makes it much easier for brands to target users with special offers and relevant promotions by providing the ability to scroll through banners on the mobile homepage. Brands can further streamline mobile site navigation and simplify the user experience by integrating expand and collapse menus and pop-up windows on the homepage and category pages -- features not previously available that are made possible with HTML5.
Taking your Mobile Strategy to the Next Level: HTML5 is Key
In our new smartphone driven world, it is no longer enough to offer a basic optimized mobile site. Instead, brands must develop a strategy that encompasses next-generation features and functionalities to make the customer journey just as comprehensive and easy to use as offered on the traditional website.
Leveraging HTML5 technology is an easy way to improve the consumer’s experience with your brand in the mobile browser environment. By developing your mobile Web presence with next-generation HTML5 technologies, brands will deliver users a rich, app-like experience across all major mobile operating systems.