In 2016 the number of mobile users on the internet overtook the number of people using traditional desktops. Mobile users are now outpacing traditional desktop users by nearly 20%. We’ve noticed a lot web designers haven’t quite caught up to modern web development standards for mobile responsiveness.
But what does that mean for your website? Will you suddenly get more traffic if you redesign your website for mobile? The answer to both of those questions is “yes.” Google first announced their transition to making mobile friendliness the most important ranking element in conjunction with website speed. Just last year they announced the concept of Mobile first indexing , which means that they will look at your mobile website before they consider the full version of the web page. This means a substantial change for businesses that have had their website for more than a year and is even more impactful for businesses that have had their website for longer than three years. We recently posted about when it is time to upgrade your website, which you can take a look at for more context. So check out that article if you haven’t already. This article will be more focused on targeting what you can do and how search engines assesses whether a website is mobile friendly. Google has a great tool which will give you a very quick “yes” or “no” answer. So the first step for you will be to check using the Google Mobile Friendly Test. Now, let’s go over some of the best way to boost your websites mobile usability, increase the quality of your SEO, and optimize your end-user experience.
Utilize Viewports When You Can
There is a concept in web design called viewports, that is used as a way to see what your mobile viewers will see. We are big fans of the SEOptimer tool to take a look at how your viewports are formatted on your website. The way you view the page is an essential part of mobile browsing. Having an offset viewport can have severe consequences for your website, including penalizing your SEO and causing users to leave without reading what is on the page. A lot of older websites will just not be able to effectively use viewports, or may require massive overhauls to get them working correctly again before they are at the point where your users have a good experience.
If you have viewport issues they are normally the early warning sign of much greater problems throughout the website. Normally, when you start this checklist and see viewport issues, it means that your entire website was not made with a responsive design in mind. Check some of the other important mobile friendly tips to see if it is time to start from scratch!
Implement Content Scaling
That hero image (that big image at the very top) that looks fantastic on desktop may not be looking as hot on mobile. Serving scaled content is very important for mobile viewing or viewing on any device with a variable aspect ratio. You can see the importance if you visit an older websites and are having a lot of trouble viewing things properly, like the hero image. A broken hero image is an issue of content scaling, which means that your website is not serving different elements at the different sizes for the type of devices viewing the content on that web page.
Mobile responsiveness requires that you serve your content in multiple formats, so this is one of the first problems you want to fix. You can test your website’s content scaling settings by taking your browser and slowly making it smaller over time to see if the content changes for different widths/heights. If your content is going off the page, or seems incorrectly sized for the device; that means that the content is not being scaled properly. Having content that isn’t scaled will make for a negative experience for your users and you may be penalized by Google for not having an effective mobile page.
Use Large and Contrasting Elements
Having elements like buttons/text/images that are large and contrasting is important for your mobile web design. When you look at a website that is designed for mobile it will be sized so that everything is very clear for someone on a smaller screen. You want your text and the background to contrast well and to ensure that any buttons are easy to read and click for your mobile users.
Clickability is widely considered an important factor when it comes to the sections on your website. Clickability is something to consider for all web design, not just responsive design. If you have a link in the text on your website, is it easy to click? If the answer is “no” than you have a problem that needs to be solved as soon as possible. Your branded colors will always have a way to contrast, so don’t be afraid to play with the coloration on your website to make sure that it can square up to today’s standards for mobile responsive web design. Having large contrasting sections will also have the added bonus of making your users with disabilities have an easier time using the website. Many websites are even conforming to the WCAG 2.1 guidelines. We wrote an article on accessibility if you want to learn more about WCAG guidelines. Otherwise, just remember that you have nothing to lose from creating contrasting sections, as it has been shown to increase conversion as well!
Keep Your Website Well Segmented
Having your website divided into easy to use sections with blocks of text is incredibly important. A lot of people we talk to want to have all the content on their website smashed up into as a small of a place as possible. This is bad for a number of reasons. The first reason is that fitting all that content onto a mobile screen is going to be very unappealing to the eye and will result in a lot of your users leaving your page. Imagine just seeing a wall of plaint text when you went to a website, would you want to keep going? When it comes to design elements like this we often look at the largest multi-million dollar companies, who are spending hundreds of thousands a year on their websites. A clear trend among the largest companies in the United States is very colorful, well segmented designs.
This is not something we see in many local web designs. If large companies are doing their mobile design that way, you should too. The other reason we discourage this is because it is statistically shown to increase your bounce rate, which means that users leave after only viewing one page. A high bounce rate is a signal to Google that your page doesn’t have the information people are searching for. We can assume that a lot of the websites out there have high bounce rates as a result of this exact issue.
Screen Shot from Aggieland’s Mowing Crew
Make It Easy to Navigate
Make navigation easy, make navigation easy on mobile. Don’t rely on small in-text hyperlinks or other elements which may not stand out clearly. Buttons, menus, and large clickable images are your friend in the era of mobile responsive web design. Keeping your website easy to navigate will mean that mobile users who have to rely on easy navigation will be able to find what they are looking for. This also ties into some things you shouldn’t do in general, like doorway pages. Having your customers one or two clicks away from buying is the best way to make sure they are getting to where you want them too. Your mobile users will also thank you for making their lives a whole lot easier. Your normal users will thank you for the boost in accessibility by giving you more conversions as icing on top of the cake. This will help you solve a very common problem in that exists in older websites.
Sourced from DesignYourWay
Mobile viewing in on track to remain the top method by which search is conducted in 2019 and 2020. Only to be contended by voice search. We want to see every single business have these important mobile elements visible on their pages. You need the contrast and responsiveness to give your mobile viewers a great experience and to avoid penalties from Google or other search engines.
Get that website segmented so that your content can be digested in easy blocks. Keep your website easy to navigate with buttons and menus. This may have been a wake-up call for some of our readers out there with older websites. Don’t worry, your friends here at Caveni are here to help you with your responsive web design. Just give us a shout on the contact page or click that big purple quote button right next to the text here. We will be in touch as soon as we can, to help you take that website to the next level!