mobile friendly website

Undecided on whether to take the plunge and create a mobile friendly website? Either you’re unsure if the additional cost (as part of a new build) is worthwhile or you’re simply considering ‘making do’ with your current website design. I’m here to explain that there simply is no alternative to upgrading to a mobile friendly website design.

Firstly, what even is a mobile friendly website design?

Well… a website is normally built to be viewed on a desktop screen; the website designer has lots of space to create an engaging design with lots of freedom to allow those key elements to really stand out and ensure a good user experience. However, when that website is viewed on a mobile phone or tablet, all the info is scrunched up and some of the fancy/moving parts no longer seem to work! This leaves you with the chore of zooming in to read a section, then zooming out, only to zoom into the next section…

So the first issue is that a standard (non-mobile friendly) website design is not very nice to look at on a mobile device and is very frustrating for the end user. This in turn, means the user simply closes the website and moves onto the next website – your competitor. The second issue is possibly even more concerning- at the start of the year Google released a clearly written blog update which explained that having a mobile friendly website is going to become even more relevant for their searches.

Nothing is ever completely set in stone when it comes to following what Google will do next, however in this case we’re left in little doubt. The writer mentioned that they “will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.” They followed this up by simply stating “This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”

Essentially, the synopsis of Google’s post is simple; if you don’t have a mobile friendly website design, your Google search engine ranking will suffer. Whilst such measures may seem brutal, it’s hard to argue against them. You could (and I’m sure the cynics amongst you, will) argue that the majority of the motivation for this move is down to Google’s successful Android application – particularly in comparison with its less successful (desktop) Chromium program. However, we are all aware of how quickly mobile devices are becoming the standard way to browse the web and so, in all honesty, the legislation seems fair. Sam recently wrote a piece outlining some of the facts and figures that back this up.

So, should you be concerned? Any website that does not meet Google’s criteria will certainly see a negative response in their rankings. Whilst your non mobile friendly website may still be useful and full of all the right information, it would appear that Google will deem it less preferable than your mobile friendly competitor.

One positive, primary step you can take is to confirm whether your site makes the cut or not. Google has built an online tool that will inform you whether your website design conforms to their definition of mobile friendly. This useful tool instantly confirms the responsiveness of your website design in seconds. If you fulfill the criteria and your site is deemed a mobile friendly website you will get the thumbs up from Google. If your site fails and is not a mobile friendly website, Google will inform you what you can do to improve. They will also show you how they ‘see’ your website and supply a series of links which explain how to best solve the various problems, particularly those specific to your website.

Don’t panic if you don’t have a mobile friendly website. If you haven’t got around to updating your site yet, all is not lost – your friendly Suffolk website design agency is here to help! We can offer a couple of really useful solutions to ensure you end up with a mobile friendly website:

Mobile Website

This option is very useful if you already have a site online that is effective and represents your brand well. A mobile website is similar to any other website, the only difference being (perhaps obviously) that it is designed for smaller, handheld displays and the design is set up for touch-screen interactivity. Mobile websites do exactly the same job as their large screen counterparts, displaying text, images and video whilst also having the added bonus of a few mobile specific features (such as direct-call links, GPS maps/directions, etc). If you load a certain website, but happen to do it from a mobile phone, you will be automatically linked straight through to the mobile website to ensure a browser-specific experience. The only thing to consider with this option is that you may then need to create a brand new site/style-sheet for each new gadget/browser on the market.

Responsive Grid

This option is by far the most comprehensive and thorough choice, and is the best solution when looking to create a mobile friendly website. This recent Logic Design blog post helps explain responsive/adaptive design in a little more detail. The term ‘responsive website’ is used to describe a website where the design and development of the website design ‘respond’ to the screen size, platform and orientation. To allow this we need to build your website on a particular (flexible) grid. Once completed, the end user can switch from a laptop to an iPad or iPhone and the website design will automatically switch to accommodate the requirements of each environment. The beauty of this approach is that it eliminates any need to create a brand new style-sheet or design for each new gadget on the market.

If you are concerned about the accessibility of your website, if your site has failed the Google “mobile friendly website test” or you’d like to know what options are available to you, please simply get in touch on 01284 706842. Our friendly team would love to discuss the best route to pursue and would be happy to offer our experience and expertise.

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