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Informative commentary on the web industry from the experts at Itomic.

June 20, 2016

Mobile-friendly. What does it mean?

By Ross Gerring

Mobile-friendly means that a site retains good design principles and functionality (i.e. usability), irrespective of the device being used to view and interact with it. “Device” typically means desktop PC, tablet, or smartphone.

City of Fremantle website is mobile-friendly

Itomic’s site for the City of Fremantle is mobile-friendly

In industry lingo, a mobile-friendly site is known as a responsive site.

Not that many years ago, before smartphones and tables were widespread, responsive sites were a nice-to-have. Today, mobile-friendly sites are standard, unless there’s a special reason why the target audience(s) will only ever interact with a site on, say, a desktop PC. (side-note: more effort is required to build mobile-friendly sites than desktop-friendly-only sites, but that’s another article).

Why go mobile-friendly?

  1. Because the world is (still) going mobile. Despite recent evidence that smartphone ownership has reached peak levels in key markets worldwide, people are still trending towards using and preferring their mobile devices, over their less-mobile desktops, to consume digital content.
  2. Because Google searches are increasingly preferring sites that are responsive over sites that are not. And in the never-ending battle to get your site found ahead of your competition, every little bit helps.

How does Google decide if a web page is responsive or not?

From Google’s own blog post on the subject, a mobile-friendly site exhibits the following characteristics:

  • Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash.
  • Uses text that is readable without zooming.
  • Sizes content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom.
  • Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped.

If working out the above for yourself sounds too hard – never fear! Google offers up more information about, and tests for, responsive sites in the same blog post: https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2014/11/helping-users-find-mobile-friendly-pages.html.

How to make your site mobile-friendly?

If it’s determined that your site is not responsive, or “could do better”, then what next? In the first instance. have a conversation about it with your preferred web developer/consultant. Depending on how old your site is, and/or what technologies it’s built with, it may be more economical to rebuild your site from scratch than it is to improve it, or retro-fit it, to be responsive. By all means get a second or 3rd opinion if you’re not convinced by the first one or two.


May 14, 2015

Mobile Responsive – Why bother?

By Izumi Mitsui
Most agencies/web developers will incur additional costs to develop a mobile responsive website.
The responsive element will ensure your website will adjust itself to multiple screen sizes across all devices and introduce user-friendly features such as ‘touch friendly’ navigation.

 

Is it worth the extra cost? Especially if you’re the website admin that only needs to access your website from the office desktop, why would you bother?

 

Here are 2 compelling reasons:

 

  1. Numbers don’t lie.
    Ever since early 2014 the mobile figures have overtaken the desktop usage for website access globally.Mobile friendly itomic
    The trend isn’t slowing down anytime soon, the increased advancements in technology allows more people access to affordable smart-devices.
     
    While you may not have a need to access your website on your portable device, it’s not about you! Your website is for your users/customers first and foremost, so it’s only wise to make  sure its easily accessible for all.
  2. Mobilegeddon has hit and gone
    On April 21st, 2015 Google’s ‘Mobile Friendly Update’ was introduced. (deemed as ‘Mobilegeddon’ by some)
    This update was simple: Google will give favour over to websites that are responsive or have a mobile friendly page over those that don’t.

    Why? Because mobile friendly pages are easy to read, access and increase the chances of the user finding what they’re after swiftly (which is the whole goal of Google).

 

Take away (for the note takers):

In 2015, mobile responsiveness should be a mandatory term with web development.
If your website is non-responsive we encourage you to take action and stay ahead of the curve.
Unsure if your website is responsive? Take the mobile friendly test 
Additional help available here.