How well does your website work on tablets and mobile phones?
This became a hot topic this year with two announcements from Google.
21 April 2015 ‘Mobilegeddon’
The first announcement was that Google was changing its search algorithms from 21 April 2015 to flag up sites that were mobile friendly. By definition this would also flag up those sites that were not, and the implication was that sites that were not mobile friendly would be pushed down Google’s search rankings. This date coined the name ‘Mobilegeddon’.
5 May 2015 Mobile overtakes computers for first time
On 5 May 2015 the rationale for ‘Mobilegeddon’ was spelled out in Google’s blog:
“more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan”
Source: Google, 5 May 2015
How you can check your site
If your site uses a responsive design theme — one that automatically adjusts the size of the site and layout to fit the screen that the site is being viewed on you won’t have a problem. New WordPress themes do this.
There are a number of online tools you can use to check if your site is mobile friendly.
You can do a quick check by just resizing your browser to the approximate size of a tablet or smartphone screen (or just look at your site on your own tablet/phone).
A more accurate way is to use Google’s own Google Webmasters Mobile-Friendly Test Tool
Just copy and paste in your website address (URL) and click on Analyze.
This will tell you if one page is mobile friendly, if you want to check your whole site you will need to log into your Google Webmaster Tools Account if you have one (and you should, Webmaster Tools are very useful for running a website). There’s a link to your Webmaster Tools account on the Mobile-Friendly Test page.
Screenfly from Quirk Tools is also a good tool. Screenfly allows you to see how your site looks in a range of screen sizes covering computers, laptops, phones, tablets and TVs.
Even if your site is mobile friendly, as the site adjusts to fit the screen some content may not be as logical and reader-friendly as it was before and this is one way to see where a change of layout may be helpful.
Mobile friendly is also more accessible
Making your site mobile friendly also makes it more accessible to people with visual impairment. Over 2 million people in the UK have sight loss according to the RNIB. Under equality legislation we should all be trying to be as accessible as possible.
A website that is not responsive design is much more difficult to use as content simply disappears. Without any specialist screen reader technology you can increase the size of the text/content just by using Ctrl+ (Cmd+ on Apple computers). Try it on your computer using this site and you’ll see how the text reflows as it increases in size. Even if you’re just at the end of the day and your eyes are tired, or you’re giving a presentation to a few people at your desk, this can be useful.
So mobile friendly makes sense for your search rankings, your clients/customers and you.
If your site isn’t mobile friendly it’s time to do something about it!